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National Campus Life Network > Blog > Leadership > 84 Years after the Persons Case Canada Still has Lessons to Learn

84 Years after the Persons Case Canada Still has Lessons to Learn

Written by Kathleen Dunn

84 years ago today, on October 18th 1929, Canadian women were recognized as persons under the law.  Lord Sankey of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England reversed the Supreme Court of Canada’s earlier decision and ruled in favour of female personhood. “The exclusion of women from all public offices is a relic of days more barbarous than ours,” he said.

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As a woman, I’m thankful that the Famous Five took matters into their own hands when our femininity was used to marginalize and exclude our gender. In the face of injustice, these women had the strength and courage to take matters into their own hands and fight for their personhood.

But as I reflect on the importance of this day, my thoughts are unquestionably drawn towards the preborn: the only group of Canadian human beings without the status of personhood.

Like the preborn, women were not recognized as persons, despite their fundamental human equality. But unlike the preborn, these women had their own voices and could speak up to defend themselves.  The preborn, while being denied personhood and human equality, are violently killed before even given the chance to speak for themselves.

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The pro-life movement is unique among social justice movements in that the victims of injustice are entirely unable to advance their own cause. Without pro-life voices like your own, the injustice of abortion will continue to silently and brutally snuff out these young lives.

So when you face discouragement in your pro-life activism, feeling as if your voice can do nothing, remember that the preborn have no voice but yours. Their silent screams will only be heard when we let them ring out through our own mouths, as we choose to defend them.

Emily Murphy, one of the Famous Five in the Persons Case, took these words as her motto: “Whenever I don’t know whether to fight or not, I fight.” So, as we celebrate this milestone for women, let us continually, in every moment, make the choice to fight – to be a voice for the preborn – who are entirely voiceless without us.

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