January 20 started off much like any other day at the “Cabbagetown Women’s Clinic” in Toronto. In fact, the abortuary was preparing for the installation of a large, shiny, blue sign that would proudly proclaim its presence to the local community. But plans went awry around noon, when an ambulance raced to the small, non-descript structure that houses the abortuary, even as the sign installers were in the middle of doing their work.

It certainly wasn’t the first time an ambulance has been to the facility.Interim readers may recall a photo in the paper’s September 1998 issue, which showed a woman being wheeled out of the same abortuary in December 1996.

Incidents like this usually go unnoticed; they probably happen much more often than the pro-life movement – and certainly, the media – are aware. It was the abortuary’s bad luck, however, to have a pro-life crisis-pregnancy centre next door, and several pro-lifers on hand as the incident took place.

“Tom (Brown) came in and said, ‘There’s an ambulance outside,'” recalled Aid to Women director Joanne Dieleman, who was busy at the counselling centre when Brown, who had been stationed on the street outside the abortuary, entered.

He grabbed a camera to document the incident as Dieleman looked out of Aid to Women. The pair’s presence obviously unnerved an abortuary employee who called the police.

As a stretcher was wheeled in, an agitated abortuary employee screamed at the assembled pro-lifers to “get out of our way.” Brown, however, continued to snap pictures, while Dieleman grabbed a Polaroid camera of her own to document what she could.

The blond-haired abortuary employee also claimed one of the abortuary’s doctors had fallen ill. But speaking to one of the ambulance attendants, Dieleman confirmed that wasn’t true.

Medical personnel worked inside the abortuary for about half an hour before a covered figure was wheeled out on a stretcher. Dieleman and Brown were unable to confirm that the victim was an abortuary client, as the individual’s face was covered. However, the presence of police and the indication from the ambulance attendant strongly suggested a woman had been injured in an abortion.

As the ambulance wheeled away to an unknown hospital and police departed the scene, the abortuary employee turned on Brown in a rage. Obviously angered that the incident was being photographed, she knocked Brown’s camera from his hand, but unfortunately for her, it fell into a mound of snow and was undamaged.

Another Aid to Women worker said the abortuary employee who accosted Brown was known to pro-lifers for her aggressive attitude and “filthy mouth.”

The incident came hot on the heels of news from B.C. that a woman died from an abortion at Vancouver General Hospital last April, but the incident only came to light recently. Such occurrences – and attempts to keep them low-profile – suggest abortion-related deaths and injuries are much more common than thought. However, attempts by pro-abortion governments and medical bodies to squelch the release of any abortion-related information make it next to impossible for pro-lifers to know what’s really going on.

As the ambulance and police departed, the large, shiny, blue sign remained in place, proudly proclaiming the abortuary’s presence to the community.