Our Spadina neighbourhood is unique in many ways. Settled in the heart of Toronto, one of the largest cities of the world, we have a congenial community that has a mix of people as diverse as the architecture of our buildings. Both our buildings and people come in all ages and extremes.
On a lovely spring day I can see my neighbour, the punk rock university student studying under one of the many towering trees on our street. While in the next yard, another neighbour, an elderly man of ethnic origin, begins to prepare his garden for another year’s harvest. There are people here from every walk of life.
The wise, domineering cement structure of Robarts Library at the University of Toronto overshadows Victorian mansions of earlier years that have been converted into rooms and apartments.
As you move west from the university, the streets are dotted with trendy refurbished family homes that blend with an complement the older traditional models beside them. Bloor Street is a cornucopia of interesting shops, restaurants, book-stores and fast-food eateries. Every one of them is within a few minutes walking distance of any home in the community.
Most of the buildings have been standing for a century. Many of the families have been here for more than a decade. Spadina is home to many families, many couples, and many singles.
Until recently we were proud of our oasis, away from the downtown hustle and bustle a few short blocks away. We would hardly miss an opportunity to brag about our neighbourhood which is not unlike living in a small town.
Then the Circus came! It came complete with a ringmaster and a troop of barkers. And they all came to our neighbourhood uninvited. The world now hears daily about what goes on in our midst.
The circus is Morgentaler’s Harbord Street abortuary. The ringmaster is Henry himself. The barkers are the spokespeople who do his bidding. He openly breaks the law and calls it to the attention of the whole world. And they do it in our own front yard.
Until recently we enjoyed a quiet peaceful life as we made our way around the community. Today we have regular guests – the kind who do not know when they have overstayed their welcome. I could retire on the money that is spent in gas by the reporters and camera crews as they pollute our air from their running automobile engines parked on Habord Street waiting for the police to raid the abortuary, shut it down, put us out of our misery, and restore us to the land of the living.
Picture yourself weaving through pickets and media on your way to the neighbourhood milk store. At times the people picketing seem to be the only ones out there who care for our sanity. They are demonstrating to keep our community free from abortionists. The thought of the garburated remains of babies flowing through the sewers under and around our homes is enough to ruin everyone’s day. How would you feel about having an abortuary in your neighbourhood?
Recent media reports ask you to swallow that we in the community surrounding the Temple of Doom on Harbord Street are upset and opposed to the pickets who are out there day after day in all types of weather. Not true! Stories like this are the typical double-think the media specialize in when they want to cloud an issue. We love the pickets. They are on our side because they too want the abortuary closed. Never let the media confuse you. The picketing is only a symptom. Morgentaler is the disease.
About a year and a half ago, a group of us circulated a petition in the neighbourhood and obtained over 3,000 signatures of people opposed to the clinic in our community. We stayed away from the moral issues and stuck to the simple issue of the Morgentaler Gang operating nest to our homes. People in the community simply did not want Henry around. We called on the police and Ontario Government to close him down. And close him down for good. Because the picketers are there to accomplish this, we welcome them, and thank them for helping to bring attention to the law-breaking activity at 85 Harbord Street.
Even if Morgentaler would take the hint that he is unwanted and leave today, our neighbourhood will always bear a scar. The building on Harbord Street will always be referred to as the abortuary.
How can the media ignore a petition with 3,000 names and say a few businessmen speak for the community? Only they know the reasons why they prefer to speak for so few.
Our neighbourhood is not unlike the baby in the womb. Morgentaler has intruded on our privacy and violated our rights as taxpayers just as he intrudes on the rights of the unborn. We share in the outrage. Just as his suction machine is unwanted and uninvited by a small baby, it is unwanted and uninvited by the Spadina neighbourhood.
To you who are members of the pro-Life movement: we not only welcome you, we need your presence in our community. Every moment that you spend opposing the Harbord Street abortuary, you help us to come one step closer to reclaiming the quality of life that we enjoyed before the Circus came to town.
Douglas Moore is the new president of Christian Action Council – Toronto, and is a resident of the Spadina community where the Toronto Abortuary is located.