OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) — Canada’s National March for Life framed abortion as a human rights issue, damaging especially to women and girls.

“Gendercide is the systematic elimination of girls just because they are girls,” Conservative member of Parliament Mark Warawa, who represents Langley, British Columbia, told the crowd on Parliament Hill May 9.

“There are 200 million missing girls in the world right now, which is creating a huge problem for society,” said Warawa, who introduced a motion earlier this year to condemn female gendercide. The political debate engendered by the motion gave rise to the march’s theme: “End Female Gendercide: ‘It’s a girl’ should not be a death sentence.”

Warawa said 92 percent of Canadians say gendercide is wrong: “I say that’s wrong. You say that’s wrong. So together we will keep up the fight and we will win.”

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police estimated 10,000-12,000 people attended the rally, but organizers said the crowd exceeded 20,000.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus told the crowd: “Only a culture of life can build a true culture of human rights. … Death can never be a solution, whether it’s abortion, euthanasia or assisted suicide.

“No problem is so grave it requires the death of our children,” he said, calling children Canada’s greatest natural resource.

About eight Catholic bishops attended the March.

“We want to care for life from conception to natural death,” said Quebec Archbishop Gerald Lacroix. “We come here today to tell the whole of Canada and our people here we have elected to serve the great people of Canada: We want life to be respected; we want life to be celebrated and we want to protect life every day of the year.”

Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins also briefly addressed the crowd, encouraging them in their support for life at all stages. Bishop Noel Simard of Valleyfield, Quebec, spoke about the importance of life as a human rights issue and invited people to attend the May 18 march against euthanasia in Quebec City.