Picketing – walking up and down the sidewalk in front of the abortuary with a placard in your hand – is frustrating work. At times it does not appear to accomplish much and sometimes one wonders about its effectiveness.
Picketing is in fact tremendously effective. One need only consider the reaction of the pro-abortionists and the numerous efforts they have made to get rid of the pickets. The press, the pro-abortion organizations, and their sympathizers have gone to extraordinary lengths to do what they can to get the picketing stopped.
The press protects and promotes the anti-life action. This has been documented at length by the Life Ethics Centre in a published pamphlet “Trial of the Century” and in the book Morality and Law in Canadian Politics: The Abortion Controversy (A. de Valk, Montreal, 1974).
The media tend to portray the picketers as violent and abusive to embellish a story or to discredit pro-lifers. Writers such as Lynda Hurst of the Toronto Star claim that: “anti-choice fanatics are picketing daily at the beleaguered Harbort St. Clinic, jeopardizing the safety of staff and patients.” (Jan. 6, 1985).
In fact, just the opposite in true. The picketers have shown remarkable restraint and respect in what is a very tense situation. Making false accusations is an attempt to undermine support for the picketing – to ensure that pro-life people, many of whom believe what they read in the popular press, stay away form the abortuary.
Recently, a CBC television reporter arrived on the picket line to follow up on a “news tip” which had been phoned into the station. The caller claimed that each morning a van went to the east end of Toronto and the derelicts found there were paid $20 each to come and picket the abortuary. This is outrageous slander and an outright lie according to picketing organizers who have never paid anyone, much less derelicts, to picket.
In recent months, the pro-abortionist attacks have taken the form of personal vendettas. Two of the most faithful picketers, Tom Brown and Dan McCash, are professional men whose work schedule allows them to picket several times a week. Recently, the employers of each of these men received anonymous telephone calls accusing both men of being on the picket line at hours when they should be at work. He suggested that they were discrediting the companies they worked for by being there. He threatened to take his complaint to someone higher in the company if they were not removed from the picket line.
A pro-abortion neighbour of the abortuary has tried a different tack. Eileen Harbinson of “Ultra Print” has laid a private criminal charge of “watching and besetting” against three regular picketers. She alleges that the three accused called her a “baby killer” and blocked customers trying to enter her premises while telling them that she is a “baby killer”. The three facing the charge, as well as other picketers, say nothing of the sort has ever happened. Indeed, none of the policemen questioned by The Interim, who are stationed twenty-four hours a day within 30 feet of her door, have ever witnessed such actions. Mrs. Harbinson knows that if her testimony is believed by the court, the penalty for the accused could be an order keeping them away from the picket line.
The three accused have decided to fight back and have laid a private information against the complainant charging her with perjury and obstruction of justice (carrying a maximum sentence of 14 years). However, this legal action cannot proceed until the picketers have faced their trial.
Even those not officially associated with the pro-abortion movement recognize the impact of the picketing. How else does one explain a five day jail sentence imposed on a family man with a responsible job for the crime of telling the police they should be enforcing the law by closing the abortuary? Obviously, judges know that picketing is a major obstacle to abortion clinics becoming widespread and acceptable.
The picketing has had such an impact that the pro-abortion Attorney General Ian Scott has considered it worth his time to get directly involved in an effort to lessen the number of picketers. In response to the requests of pro-abortion leader Norma Scarborough and Eileen Harbinson, he tried to impose an agreement to reduce the number of picketers to five.
The lesson to be learned from this is that the opposition has gone to great lengths to try to get rid of the pickets from the abortuary because they see the pickets as a major hurdle in their efforts to establish abortion on demand in Canada.
One of the main effects of picketing is that it destroys Morgentaler’s strategy of establishing abortion clinics across the country. He would like his abortuaries to operate as quietly as possible in order to be able to tell legislators that his clinics have become an accepted part of our society. He wants to collect his money and continue the killing without any fuss. The pickets are major stumbling block to that strategy.
Banish any doubts you may have about the effectiveness of picketing. It is a vital sign to all Canadians of our concern for the preservation of the lives of pre-born children. We cannot let society forget that the unborn child has the right to life.
Picketing is extremely effective, and picketers themselves know they are saving lives by being there.