The ‘Cemetary of the Innocent’ is a display that, according to the Abbotsford Right to Life Society, has served its purpose. Residents of Abbotsford and Chilliwack using the Trans Canada highway and the heavily traveled South Parallel Road and Sumas Way in February and March, were likely to witness the 2,051 white crosses that represent lives lost to abortion. According to society president Monica Rodis, the crosses symbolize the number of abortions that take place in Canada every week.
“Some people don’t believe it is such a high number,” she says. “But you will have to argue with Stats Canada if you question the number. It looks like an awful lot because it is an awful lot.” She says that even many pro-lifers have reacted with astonishment at the magnitude of abortion in Canada.
The number of calls to the Right to Life office and the substantial amount of letters to the editor of Abbotsford’s two main newspapers — both critical and supportive — all indicate that people are discussing the issue.
This is the second year that a local farmer has donated the use of his land for the memorial. It was originally planned as a one-time event to coincide with last year’s 30th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in Canada. However, the group felt that the impact of last year’s display should be repeated. “The reaction we got [in ’99] was quite significant, so we decided to do it again,” says Rodis.
Amidst the sea of blank white crosses, five little crosses stand out in contrast to the rest. These five memorials have names written on them and flowers laid beside them. They were placed by women who had abortions in the past and wish to remember the children. “In post-abortion counseling, one of the steps to dealing with the grief is to name your baby, recognizing that this was a person,” comments Rodis, adding that some of the women were even aware of the sex of their child. The Abbotsford office also fielded several calls from women who had abortions in the past and wished to thank the group for the display.
Rodis says the display was a wake-up call for many in the Fraser Valley’s Christian community. She recounts how a local teacher took her Sunday school class to see the display: “As kids can be, they were quite boisterous on the trip down [to see the crosses]. However, after they looked at the crosses and were told why they were there, they were very quiet on the way home.” Several Christian schools also took students to view and pray by the memorial.
Some Abbotsford residents were critical of the look of the memorial, believing it showed disrespect by looking too much like a veterans’ graveyard.
The ‘Cemetary of the Innocent’ between Abbotsford and Chilliwack on the Trans Canada Highway, is a display of 2,051 white crosses that represent lives lost to abortion. According to society president Monica Rodis, the crosses symbolize the number of abortions that take place in Canada every week.