On the morning of Morgentaler’s visit, London radio station CFPL-AM held an open-line show that featured an hour with Morgentaler. Mrs. Lansink emphasized that abortion denied the civil rights of the unborn, something concrete and indisputable. Despite this, reporter Helen Connell of the London Free Press concluded her news report on the show with the view she considered summed up the day best, as expressed by a caller who thought this applies to the Bible as well: “This is like an issue in the Bible. You can read it and I can read it and we’ll both see different things.”
That evening, 2,200 people, mostly students gathered at the University to applaud Morgentaler inside the lecture hall while outside, in cold blustery weather, some 1,600 people (according to The Gazette, a student newspaper) attended the pro-life rally sponsored by the University of Western Ontario Right to Life. Clustered around a public address system, they heard John Sweeney, pro-life Liberal MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo, describe Morgentaler and his clinics as “an evil that is so horrible we can’t walk away from it.” The MPP received loud cheers from the audience for his observations on the abortionist.
Carol Copps-Edwards, a past vice-president of the Canadian Youth Pro-Life Organization, was introduced as a student who had returned to university after interrupting studies because of an unexpected pregnancy. She spoke about the fact that feminism and the pro-choice stand were not compatible. “Abortion contradicts the basics of feminism which are human rights and equality for all,” she said, describing it as the “most willful invasion of a woman’s physical and psychic integrity.”
George Johnson, until recently on the Students’ Council, attacked the Council and the Centre for Public Issues for their bias in inviting a pro-abortion speaker only. Other speakers were London nurse Annie Carson and Cambridge doctor Reg Bannister, representing Physicians for Life.
Among the demonstrators was Bishop John Sherlock, currently president of the CCCB, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. On the same day as the pro-life demonstration, the Bishop issued a pastoral letter to his clergy and laity in which he noted that “throughout history the tactic of those who wished to destroy human lives was to deny that they were truly human.” The latest developments in medical technology reveal, beyond a shadow of a doubt, he noted, “the full humanity of the unborn child.” The Bishop urged all to see the videotape The Silent Scream and directed “that in every church and chapel in this diocese, at every Mass, on every Sunday there be included in the Prayers of the Faithful, a petition that the evil of abortion cease in our country.”