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The London Area Right to Life Association
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By Helena Smrcek

The London Area Right to Life Association (LARTLA) is an educational, registered, charitable organization based on the belief that every human being is unique and of infinite value. “We believe that the right to life is an extremely important issue,” says James Schadenberg, Executive Director London Area Right to Life Association. “Canada is one of the few countries where it's legal to have an abortion throughout all nine months, and it is government funded.”

“But it's not only about abortion,” says James. “The right to life and the value of life is being continuously denigrated on multiple fronts in Canada. Euthanasia is now extended to more and more circumstances, where death is being promoted.”

James grew up in a pro-life family. “I've been involved since I was a kid,” says James. His passion for sanctity of life grew during his university years. “I interned with pro-life groups and during the school year I also served on the executive team for my university pro-life group because I feel like there aren't enough voices speaking out against this injustice.”

LARTLA has a long history in the London community. “We run 40 Days for Life in London, 40 Days for Life for instance,” says James. “Also, the Life Chain each year in early October, the annual gala, and we have been present at the Western Fair for the past 50 years.”

LARTLA isn’t a crisis pregnancy center but is connected with the local agencies that provide support for pregnant women. “We are focused on education. Our members give talks in churches and other group settings about how to compassionately, passionately and effectively promote pro-life issues, the value of life and the injustice of abortion in our community. We envision a city,” James continues, “where it is easier to choose life. We value equality and want to see that life from womb to tomb is truly appreciated.”

Pro-life peaceful activism has many faces, from volunteers praying outside of Victoria Hospital for 40 days, community talks, walkathons, to online presence. “We want to reach everybody in the city of London. Everyone has the opportunity to interact with people who might be in crisis pregnancy or could eventually face such situation in the future. We want to see hearts and minds changed.”

Being an educational group that openly speaks out on such inflammatory issues does come with opposition. “A couple of years ago,” says James, “we tried to adopt a park. The application was rejected citing that the mandate of the group is too controversial.” For James, this is a much deeper issue. “There are many people and organizations who can participate in this program. I think we have the same right to freedom of expression that any other group have.”

Communicating effectively with the public about controversial topics is no easy task. “It depends on the specific way we're putting our messaging, even if it is controversial. We aim to do it in a warm, compassionate way. And if people are against the idea that abortion is an act that kills children, and believe that we're wrong for standing against that, that is a philosophical difference that may, or may not, be overcome.”

LARTLA provides peaceful activism training to its volunteers and teaches them how to speak from a perspective of the human rights. “That's a very common line of argument in the pro-life movement. All human beings should have human rights to life. Our method includes educating people on how to talk to others in their lives about abortion.”

LARTLA is supported through their members and volunteers, and also through local churches and religious groups. For more information, or to volunteer visit their Facebook page or follow them on Instagram.

About the author...
Helena Smrcek
, a journalist, author, and screenplay writer, believes in the power of a well-told story. Her readers can expect a captivating page-turner, filled with thrilling suspense, and heartwarming romance.

She started in publishing as a high school student, freelancing for Mississauga News. Her journalism carrier took off in 1999. Within three years Helena accumulated over 100 by-lines and interviewed Ann Graham Lotz, Carol Lewis, Cec Murphey, Kelita, and others. Her stories, many of them covers, have been published in Canada, the USA, Bermuda, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2002 she accepted a position at Listen Up TV, a current affairs program.

Helena became a founding member of Write!Canada, and The Word Guild, a Canadian national association of writers and editors. She is a graduate of Jerry Jenkin’s Craftsman Class, Act One, Donald Maass’ Fire in Fiction, Writer’s Police Academy, and several mentoring programs.

She regularly attends writers’ conferences and is a past or current member of such organizations as Word Weavers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Toast Masters International, Boni, The Writer’s Guild, and others. Helena loves to participate in NaNoWriMo and hosts a writers’ group.

As an entrepreneur, she is familiar with marketing, branding, and social media. She has volunteered with YMCA, mentoring new Canadians pursuing their business dreams, and was an active member of her local Chamber of Commerce.

When not at her keyboard, Helena loves listening to audiobooks, working on her hobby farm, and traveling. She lives in Southern Ontario with her husband, three Vizslas, several cats, a herd of goats, and an undisclosed number of chickens.

For more about Helena, click HERE