OTTAWA, Ontario — Helping someone contemplating death through euthanasia can be a simple as saying “hello.”

It’s the little things that can make a difference, Campaign Life Coalition President Jim Hughes told an audience of clergy at a January 17 information session, where they also discussed abortion.

“Stop to say hello,” to the elderly, Hughes said. “Give them your time, your ear, and try to listen.”

Small acts of kindness, he said, like visiting the sick in nursing homes, taking a shut-in to a ballgame, making a phone call or sending a card to a lonely elderly person, can help prevent euthanasia.

Hughes told the luncheon gathering that volunteering to become a power of attorney for medical care, taking time to greet the “chorus of people” who congregate near the elevators or the front door at nursing homes, “are just little things that can make a tremendous difference,” Hughes said.

They all add up and can have an “impact on folks who might be considering recourse to the deed,” he said.

Last year, 744 Canadians lost their lives due to euthanasia or assisted suicide following its legalization in Quebec in December 2015 and in the rest of Canada last June.

Campaign Life’s U.N. representative, Matthew Wojciechowski, warned that Canada is moving at a faster pace than either Belgium or the Netherlands did when they started implementing their assisted death programs in 2002.

“What is happening in the Netherlands and Belgium will start happening here,” he said, adding that people with disabilities, children with disabilities, the mentally ill and elderly people who have not consented to euthanasia could be next to be euthanized.

“It doesn’t have to happen if we speak up,” he said.

Another challenge facing Canada, Hughes said, is the advent of chemical abortions, in which pharmaceutical drugs are taken to induce an abortion. Hughes predicted they will eventually make surgical abortions “a thing of the past.”

In Finland, 90 percent of abortions are chemical; in Scotland, it’s 80 percent, he said.

The drugs, methotrexate and misoprostol, are available through a doctor’s office or clinic to women who are less than seven weeks pregnant.

Johanne Brownrigg, an Ottawa lobbyist for Campaign Life Coalition, said chemical abortion has been promoted because aboriginal women and those in remote areas do not have access to medical abortion. But those in remote areas must have access to a doctor to cope with the potential side effects of hemorrhage and septic shock, she said.

“The child dies, the mother suffers and can die,” she said.

Brownrigg urged clergy to help unmask abortion by acknowledging the loss of an unborn child in miscarriages. Miscarriages are “virtually ignored, woman to woman,” she said. “We need to reverse that. If you do, you will contribute to humanizing the unborn and unmask abortion.”

The session was one of several hosted each year by Campaign Life Coalition to inform Catholic and non-Catholic clergy of the group’s work on Parliament Hill and at the United Nations.

“Without your spiritual leadership, we couldn’t do our job,” Hughes told the gathering.

Campaign Life Coalition also organizes the National March for Life in Ottawa. This year’s march May 11 will mark its 20th anniversary.