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Thousands walk through downtown for annual March for Life

Marchers walk through the streets of Ottawa for the annual "National March for life."
Cassie Aylward

Pro-life protesters and a small number of pro-choice protesters butt heads at this this year's March For Life that brought out thousands of pro-life demonstrators.  

This year's rally was titled "RU4 Life," named after RU-486, a drug that terminates pregnancies.  The drug is currently under Health Canada review.  At least one woman has died using the pill.

The pro-life demonstrators call it the "abortion pill," and questioned why  the government would allow such a drug to be under review for approval.

Megan McKenna says she's opposed to the legalization of the pill in Canada.

"I'm totally against it," she said.  "These moms are taking their lives and not even giving them a chance to breathe."

An annual fixture of the rally is the opposing pro-choice counter protest.  This year saw a few dozen pro-choice counter protesters.

Alyssa Max is one of those who joined the pro-choice camp, and says there's a lot of misinformation about RU-486. 

"It's actually been proven to be more effective and more safe than the current abortion pill that's used in Canada," she says.  "The current pill . . . causes much more discomfort than what is necessary."

At least two pro-choice protesters were taken away from the Hill by police after interrupting the event.

The pro-life side was largely made up of high school and middle school students who were given the day off school to attend.  Some were also given volunteer hours, which they need to graduate in Ontario.

Alyssa Chambers is a student from Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in Ajax, and says she came to Ottawa to show her support for the movement.

"I believe children are valuable from the moment of conception," Chambers said. "We're here to stand up for those who cannot speak."

The pro-choice camp said they had concerns with the way the teens were recruited to participate in the march.

"I find it disturbing when Catholic schools offer young teenagers a fun trip to Ottawa," Ariel Smith, a pro-choice protester said. "I sort of question how tempting that is to a young teenagers."

A few Conservative MPs turned out to support the pro-life side, while NDP MP Nikki Ashton stood with the pro-choice demonstrators.  This year's march comes a day after Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said all new candidates for his party in 2015 must be pro-choice.

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