FREDERICTON – New Brunswick pro-lifers are ready for higher-profile picketing following news that Henry Morgentaler’s Fredericton abortuary will be relocating next to a junior high school.
Pro-lifers learned in mid-May that Morgentaler’s Ferry Street location will close down to make room for expansion of a shopping centre in suburban Fredericton.
Abortuary operators have purchased property on Barracks Lane, a dead-end street in downtown Fredericton.
As many as 50 unborn children are destroyed each month at Morgentaler’s Fredericton franchise.
Local pro-lifers are alarmed that the new abortuary will be located next to George Street Junior High School. Many Fredericton residents, including Mayor Brad Woodside, have questioned the wisdom of locating an abortuary so close to 11- to 13-year-old school children.
“I feel that it is very inappropriate – particularly being in close proximity to the school,” Mayor Woodside told Fredericton’s Daily Gleaner newspaper.
“I would expect the people in the downtown area are not going to be very pleased about this kind of thing taking place down there.”
Woodside added that Morgentaler’s supporters have chosen a site which complies with the province’s Municipalities and Planning Act.
The act permits a medical clinic in the Barrack Lane area of the city. “Legally, there is absolutely nothing the municipality can do to stop it,” Woodside said.
Meanwhile, Fredericton pro-life activist Thaddee Renault wondered about Morgentaler’s motivations in choosing to relocate near a junior high school.
“It’s impossible to fathom why so wily a man (as Morgentaler) would consider such a stupid move, in obvious defiance and contempt of public opinion,” Renault told The Interim. “But the man has always enjoyed being in-your-face this way.”
Stepped up effort
Renault said the new location affords pro-lifers an excellent opportunity to step up their witnessing efforts. Pro-lifers have organized weekly demonstrations since the original abortuary opened in June 1994.
“We will jump at the opportunity he offers for more effective protest than at the current location,” Renault added.
“I’m sure the George Street Junior High School authorities are not going to appreciate anti-abortion picketers parading just outside their windows.”
Renault also said the choice of a new site could backfire on Morgentaler and his supporters.
“Besides being next door to a prominent junior high school and a cemetery, the site is alongside the two busiest thoroughfares in Fredericton, and as luck would have it, almost next door to Fredericton’s main Catholic church, St. Dunstan’s,” Renault added. “This is a chance for added public profile.”