The movement is called Operation Rescue. It acts on the Biblical injunction, “Rescue those unjustly sentenced to death” (Proverbs 24:11). Rescuers prevent the killing of unborn children by sitting in large numbers in front of the doors of an abortuary, preventing the entry of employees and clients. Some of the Rescuers get arrested – those who refuse to budge if the police order them away. The action is entirely non-violent and prayerful.

August 23

During two recent weeks, from August 23 to September 8, some 236 pro-lifers from across Ontario have been arrested in Toronto.

One hundred and fifty-one pro-life supporters were arrested in simultaneous rescues at the Morgentaler and Scott abortuaries on Wednesday, August 23. On September 1, police carried away 14 protesters from Nikki Colodny’s Parliament Street abortuary, of whom ten were under 18 years of age. Police did not detain or charge them. And on September 8, Toronto police arrested and charged 71 rescuers blocking the entrances to Scott’s Gerrard Street “clinic.”


The 236 are facing a variety of penalties. The 90 rescuers at the Morgentaler abortuary were charged with “obstructing a peace officer,” for breaking the injunction issued by Ontario Supreme Court Judge Craig. Some of them were requested to sign a promise to stay away; others were charged and then released. Of the 90 people arrested, 13 were under 18; of the adults, some 42 were held overnight in jail, with 12 men and eight women staying longer.

On the other hand, the arrested Scott “clinic” rescuers – 61 on August 23 and 71 on September 8 – were merely held in cells at a local police station for “breach of peace.” This is a non-criminal offence. Police normally release prisoners held under these terms at the end of the day.

But at the end of the day of the second Scott rescue, some 50 rescuers refused to leave the 51 Division police station. They were protesting against an assault charge laid when a police officer stumbled over the leg of a woman going “limp”. Police officers had to carry them out of the police station to deposit them on the sidewalk at 11:30 p.m.

Violent or peaceful?

All rescuers conducted themselves peacefully. They sang hymns, prayed and allowed themselves to go limp when dragged away to the paddy wagons. Pro-abortion supporters, however, were also present, screaming and taunting the pro-lifers as “bigots” and religious fanatics. They tried to climb over them, kicking and shoving while police stood by watching.

This picture of pro-abortion violence the media transformed into pro-life aggression. “Abortion clinic protest turns violent.” read the Toronto Star headline of September 9; “Fist fights broke out when pro-life protesters clashed with pro-choice supporters…,” said the first sentence.

Only those present know that these lines convey a totally false picture of the reality: rescuers trying to ward off the blows and kicks of a pro-abortionist climbing over them in order to reach the clinic door. The Star got one thing right. The pro-abortion attacker was never charged by the police.

The present situation

Of the thirteen teenagers who took part in the Morgentaler Operation Rescue on August 23, the youngest ones, ages 12-15, had a trial date set for Friday, April 16, 1990. The remaining 16 – and 17-year-old teenagers are to appear for trial in January 1990.

The 74 adults will be in court as a group on October 4 and 5. Out of this group, eight men – including two catholic priests – and two women have remained in jail, refusing to sign a promise not to return to the scene of Morgentaler’s killing centre.

They are:


Linda Gibbons,

Weston, Ontario.

A single mother of three children, who works in a home for handicapped children,

Carol Snelgrove,

Oakville, Ontario,

Mother of three.


Father Gino Battaglini

Arrested on August 28. He is co-pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Labrador City, Newfoundland.

Bob Bowers,


Single taxi driver and part-time student

Father Ted Colleton

At 76 the oldest in jail. He is a Catholic priest and a member of the religious Congregation of brothers and priests of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) in Toronto.

Bill de Marois

Actor, Radio announcer, Toronto

Dr. Ray Holmes

At 73, the second oldest. He is a grandfather and a retired dentist from Brampton, Ont.

Ken Kittle

Mill worker, Kitchener.

Mario Krizan

Single, 46, graphic artist, Toronto.

Dean Thiesen

Single, carpenter and roofer, Niagara Falls.

Also in prison for two weeks were:

Adrianna Bannon, mother of four children, Stratford, Ontario; Barbara Cummer, mother of four boys, Scarborough; and Nathalie Lochwin, mother of three girls, Toronto. And for the men: Dan Eardley, 24, single, student, Kingston; and Robert Hinchey, businessman, Toronto. In prison for one week: Lynn Bullock, mother of five, secretary, Toronto; Hilary Furney, single, secretary, Toronto; and Anne Packer, mother of five, Toronto.

For the men: Rev. Ken Campbell, Baptist Evangelist, Milton; Pastor John Foster, Toronto; and Phil Loforti, businessman, Niagara Falls.