nb-pro-life-220

About 200 people attended the annual pro-life rally in Fredericton Thursday. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

The anti-abortion movement in New Brunswick is calling on the Alward government to debate the issue of abortion and consider alternatives.

About 200 people attended the annual anti-abortion rally at the provincial legislature in Fredericton on Thursday.

"To express our concern about the unfortunate loss of life before birth in New Brunswick — about 1,000 a year —  and to promote our alternatives to that and to urge our government to protect life and to help mothers find a good alternative to abortion," said Peter Ryan, rally organizer and executive director of the New Brunswick Right to Life.

New Brunswick has one of the lowest rates of induced abortions in the country, he said.

But his group believes the government should still speak out against the procedure.

"A thousand abortions, in our estimation, is a thousand too many," said Ryan.

"There are alternatives that are good, not just for the babies, but for the mothers."

Calls to study when life begins

Pro-life rallies are held across Canada every year at this time to protest the legalization of abortion in Canada on May 14, 1969.

An estimated 10,000 demonstrators gathered on Parliament Hill last week for the annual March for Life anti-abortion protest.

This year's marches come on the heels of a private member's motion by Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth, calling on a committee study on when life begins.

Woodworth said current Canadian law says human life begins when a child has fully emerged from the mother's birth canal, which is based on a 400-year-old definition imported from Britain.

When he announced the motion, Woodworth had argued he was simply interested in updating the law to agree with 21st-century medicine. But in an interview with Radio-Canada, he admitted his motion is linked to abortion.

The motion was debated for an hour last month and will be debated and voted on sometime in June or once the House returns in September from its summer break.

The Harper government has said it will never bring in a law on abortion.