Show the Truth, a pro-life organization that uses graphic images of aborted babies to force the public to consider the truth about abortion, held witnesses at major intersections across Toronto, Aug. 12 to 16.

Throughout the week at intersections such as Bayview and Eglinton, Yonge and York Mills, Gerrard and Parliament (near the Cabbagetown abortuary), and Gerrard and Jarvis (near the Scott abortuary), dozens of pro-lifers held large clapboard signs depicting aborted babies’ heads and dismembered limbs, spread out down both sides of the street in every direction for maximum exposure and effect.

The first sign in the series stated in bold black letters on a white background that, “You are about to see the truth on abortion.”

The witnesses, which organizers call a tour, was meant to elicit a reaction. “I’d say we’ve had more positive reactions than negative,” one woman, who preferred to remain nameless, told The Interim. “I’ve only seen one pamphlet on the ground and it flew out of someone’s purse or pocket, I think.”

Obviously, some people were offended by what was being displayed. Some even screamed obscenities and one pro-lifer, Joey Tomasicchio from Kitchener, Ont., was spat upon.

“People say this is disgusting. Well yes, it is disgusting to chop up babies,” Patricia Milan, a 30-year veteran of the pro-life battle, told The Interim.

But there were also signs of support, including honking of horns as people drove by, giving the thumbs-up sign and others stopping to thank participants for their witness.

During the Toronto tour, there were 14 stops, and at each one, there were at least 40 signs displayed by 50 or more participants. There were also people distributing pamphlets to answer questions on abortion. The pamphlets were going like hotcakes and Show the Truth organizer Rosemary Connell of Lindsay, Ont. said they had to phone the print shop to order more. By Thursday, the morning of the fourth day, they had already distributed more than 2,000 of them.

The event brought out many people of different ages and from various walks of life. One girl, age 11, who came with her parents, two sisters and her brother, played the role of water girl. “I don’t like babies being killed. Babies are so cute,” Janelle St-denis told The Interim.

There were also a number of young-at-heart. Connell gave a lot of credit to them, since most of them struggle to stand for a 90-minute witness and many go to more than one location. “I thank the old people and young people, but sometimes the old people get forgotten in all the enthusiasm,” said Connell.

Connell pointed out at the Gerrard and Parliament demonstration that the police have been a lot more tolerant than usual. She thinks it’s due to World Youth Day and all the pro-life rallies that were held with no real problems. This is in marked contrast to police who were often quick to react to any pro-life demonstration in downtown Toronto by arresting pro-lifers and even journalists covering the events. “The police are different after World Youth Day,” she noted. “I think the young people celebrating their faith has touched their hearts.”

As with any demonstration, there is the potential for problems. Just before the Yonge and College demonstration ended at 1 p.m. August 15, a businessman, who called himself Aaron, became angry with the whole scene and phoned the police about a bylaw that prohibits signs and posters from being placed on the sidewalk. The police came and were ready to put an end to the witness but the demonstration had just ended. Connell said she will be looking into the by-law and might take it to the courts.