By Mike Mastromatteo
The Interim

Readers of The Interim have donated more than $900 to a Toronto woman who recently gave birth to a baby girl, after resisting pressure from her former boyfriend to abort the child.

Maria (not her real name), whose story was featured in the April, 2000 edition of The Interim, gave birth to six-pound, 10-ounce baby daughter, Jenna Maria, June 6. Maria had turned to the Toronto Right to Life Association after her former boyfriend – and father of her unborn child – threatened her if she did not comply with his demand that she have an abortion.

Early in her pregnancy, Maria agreed to meet her former boyfriend at a Toronto restaurant. While there, the boyfriend, accompanied by a number of male friends, suggested that unless she agreed to abort the child, Maria would meet with an unfortunate accident.

With the help of Right to Life executive director Emma Fedor, Maria succeeded in charging her former boyfriend with uttering death threats. She also obtained a peace bond to prevent him from contacting her during the pregnancy. Complicating the situation was the fact that Maria’s former boyfriend is employed at the hospital where she was to give birth. She was concerned that if he learned that she had been admitted as a patient, he might show up at her hospital room.

Maria discovered that finding court and police protection from a boyfriend or spouse who insists on abortion is not as easy as one might think. The former boyfriend’s current bail conditions require that he stay away from Maria and her family. Maria was scheduled to see a justice of the peace July 14 to obtain another peace bond to ensure her ongoing safety.

News of Maria’s plight prompted The Interim to solicit donations from readers. To date, some $935 was sent in to help Maria cover baby expenses. The cheque was presented to Maria in mid-July by Emma Fedor. “It has been a generous response from Interim readers,” Fedor said. “The money will be put to very good use by Maria.”

Maria said the donation is a welcome end to a harrowing ordeal. “There were some tense moments towards the end of the pregnancy,” Maria told The Interim. “I was afraid my ex-boyfriend would find me, but otherwise there were no real problems. I had a great team around me at all times, and security was always a high priority.”

Maria, a part-time property management consultant, said the money is sorely needed as she has only occasional work assignments. She plans to use the funds to purchase a new crib, stroller and other items for Jenna Maria. She is also the mother of a 12-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

“It would have been easy to terminate the pregnancy last fall, but I’ve never believed in abortion, and I didn’t want my former boyfriend to pressure me into it,” Maria said.

She is now staying with her parents until she can make arrangements to return home and return to work.