On February 27 at the Evangelical Temple in North York, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada held a one-day conference on human life titled, “Abortion: Canada in Crisis.” Its purpose to assist evangelicals in better understanding the implications of the recent Supreme Court ruling on abortion and to encourage positive action among its members.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is a national association of 24 denominations, formed in 1964 to provide a united Evangelical voice to the media and the government.
The day began with an analysis of the recent decision by lawyer, Robernadeau, he said the media have passed on to the public the mistaken notion that the ruling has given women a constitutional right to abortion. He points out that in fact only one Justice, Madame justice Bertha Wilson said that and even she limited this right to somewhere in the second trimester. The other four Justices struck down the law on procedural and not substantive grounds. Parliament can, therefore, make a law to restrict abortions, he said, but noted that there must be equal and easier access for any legal abortions
John Reimer, MP for Kitchener, described in detail how the decision-making process works in Ottawa. Conservative policy is being developed by a committee of four. Chaired by Minister for the Status of Women, Barbara MacDougall, the Senator Lowell Murray. The committee’s recommendations then go forward to Cabinet and Caucus for approval. Pray for them, said Mr. Reimer, especially Mr. Epp, the only pro-lifer in the group.
The afternoon and evening sessions were concerned primarily with strategy. Two general principles seemed to stand out. First, even though the ultimate goal may be to totally eliminate abortions, the speakers suggested that it may be necessary to accept smaller steps in order to reach that end. We should applaud, for example, Great Britain, which has recently reduced the time of legal abortions from 28 to 18 weeks, while holding fast to our final target.
Second, we need to be aware of the difficulties that a poor, single mother faces when she decides to carry her baby to term. We therefore need to provide her with an adequate support structure that will make this an earlier decision.
The conference attracted about 250 people. This certainly does not represent a low level of Evangelical interest in the issue. Rather, it reflects the fat-too-brief period available for promotion (two weeks), and two other major Evangelical conferences on the same day that drew away many potential participants. In spite of the numbers the quality of the sessions was excellent and it is sure to led to a greater Evangelical involvement in this vital issue.
Other speakers included Paul McConnell, Angela Costigan, Denise O’Leary, Bev. Hadland, and Paul and Diane Marshall. Tapes are available from Norday Communications Ltd., 14 Tara Ave., Scarborough, Ont. M1K 4B1, phone (416) 759-0815.