Two dozen Canadian pro-lifers took part in the Spring of Life rescue campaign in Buffalo, willingly facing violence and abuse from pro-abortion forces and the fear of indignities and incarceration of which we can justifiably be proud.
But if I may speak frankly to you, all my fellow Canadian pro-lifers- why is it that we do not have rescue campaigns in Canadian cities? Why do we travel far away when there are women and children desperately in need of our direct protection right here, in our own communities?
Rescue in Canada has stalled badly since those heady and not-to-be-forgotten days of 1989-1990, when countless pro-lifers endured much to save children and mothers. Perhaps this is a part of a natural evolution, I don’t know. But it is undeniable that when injuction after injuction came crashing down like the devil’s dominoes, we responded for the most part with bewilderment, equivocation and compromise.
The conclusion we have demonstrably reached since is: Rescue doesn’t work in Canada. It’s okay for the States, where rescuers can swoop in with hundreds of people, save babies for sure, wit out relatively minor sentences, then regroup and do it all over again. Rescue, in Canada, actually messes things up! When we recue, injunctions are granted which also prohibit picketing and sidewalk counselling. Look at what happened in Vancouver. Rescuers there were squashed like bugs! And look at Toronto-we can’t even pray without getting arrested.
Face the facts
We live in a country where killing children isn’t just tolerated as a necessary evil: It’s savagely safeguarded as a cherished right. Our vague surprise and dismay that we’re actually prevented by law from praying outside a killing chamber reveal our reluctance to face the holocaust rather than provide evidence to prove rescue an intrinsically flawed tactic for Canada. This response to rescue indicates only that we have become accustomed to the horror of child killing; that we have profoundly underestimated the effect of the violence on ourselves and our ability to evaluate clearly our obligation to our brothers and sisters, and to God. Rescue can’t possibly make things worse, but it can and does make it far more apparent how bad things really are.
It’s true, injections are daunting legal contrivances, but then aging, they are meant to be daunting . They are, after all, mechanisms of intimidation used by a corrupt government to prevent our saving children and mothers. And so far, they seem to have won the day. In the United States, injunctions are now thumping down all over the place, like rotten apples off a tree.
Things are changing there however. We were blessed to have John Cavanaugh-O’Keefe, the father of Rescue, come to Edmonton in December ’91 to help us out. Among other things, he told us Rescue in his country is beginning its “fourth wave,” which is characterized by “local self-sufficiency”. Joe Foreman, of Operation Rescue, says the same thing, only he terms it “fidelity to a mission and to a place.” He points out that the “short-term flash assault” used by American churches involved in rescuing has to change. And in fact, it is changing.
What can be done?
What we can glean from this is obvious: the local Christian pro-life community is responsible for directly and non-violently protecting the women and children immediately threatened by the violence of abortion in their community. That means us, in our own Canadian cities, where, if we don’t do it, who will? Who?
And even if this task proves far more arduous and takes much longer to accomplish than we first expected (and it will), and even though it’s more tangibly successful and yes, in a way, easier to rescue children and mothers 500 miles away, it’s our job to save those of us at risk where we live. Here. Right down the street. Right now.
We know by now, by heart, the philosophical and spiritual foundations on which the vital work of rescue is firmly based. We know that to rescue is to intervene non-violently to stop a mother and child from entering an abortion mill; that it is to force ourselves, the church and society in general to confront the killing and our own complicity with it. It is to break down the distinction between born and unborn people by standing in solidarity with them, to say by our actions that if these little ones are to be killed, then kill us too, since there is no difference between us. Yes, we know all this- we know what to do, how to do it and why we do it.
Why, then, aren’t we doing it?
Is it because in Vancouver we were creamed by an insanely draconian injection granted by a ruthless judge and diligently enforced by a zealous police official? Or is it because in Toronto we were creamed by an injunction and pummeled by truculent anti-lifers? Or because in Edmonton we’ve only had, at one time, a little over a dozen rescuers so far (but what they lacked in numbers they more than made up for in velour, God bless them)?
Violence of holocaust
All these difficulties diminish utterly in significance when compared to the staggering violence of the holocaust. A baby is a baby is a baby- and to protect that baby from a brutal death with just a little bit of our life is as right to do in Edmonton and Vancouver as it is in Atlanta and Houston. A mother is a mother is another, and to help and defend the mother is as much an obligation for Christians in Toronto, Winnipeg and Halifax as it is for Christians in Buffalo, Boston and Fargo, North Dakota.
And what happens to us, when we try to stop the slaughter, really doesn’t matter, or for that matter, it can’t matter.
So let us, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us by the grace of God begin rescuing again in Canada-doggedly. Faithfully, lovingly.
Time to begin again
Let us begin again, my dear friends, despite our lack of experience wit civil disobedience despite our supposed phlegmatic national character, despite those madcap judges who filing injunctions at us like a grave-digger flinging out sod, despite jail time (with God’s grace we’ll not only live through it but actually be better for it), despite financial hardships (the members of the Christian community will support each other).
Let us keep going back to the death chambers to rescue our children until God tells us, gently, personally, to stop, which He will when the time to stop as come. It is His work; we seek only to do His will. And if you seek Him, you will certainly find Him- at the abortion mill. He is calling . . . are we responding?
As Bill Cotter, a renowned American rescuer said.
The question shouldn’t be, “Why are these people blockading abortion clinics?” Rather, it should be “ Why isn’t the whole church doing the same thing? How can child-killing centres PROSPER in the midst of the Body of Christ, with only token resistance?” Because we have accepted the world’s contract:
“Do not treat the unborn as your fellow human beings.” Believe it if you insist, but don’t act as if it’s true. If you agree to this, then you may keep your bank accounts, jobs, churches, houses and freedom. It’s time to dissolve the contract.