Halifax, N.S. Pro-life activists Ann Marie Tomlins and Dianne Smith spearheaded the creation in January 1990 of a new organization to express women’s views on a wide range of issues.
“Attending the Human Life International strategy weekend in Halifax in November confirmed our conviction that many related factors contribute to the abortion problem, and these must be addressed in a special way by women,” Ms. Smith told The Interim.
“We want to address a broader range of concerns than the mandate of the Right to Life organizations allows. We need freedom to act more quickly and more aggressively than the existing women’s groups permit,” Mrs. Tomlins stated.
They also felt that conforming to the stated positions of the national pro-life, pro-family group, REAL Women, might restrict their response to current local events.
The new group, United Voice of Women, was to be introduced at a press conference called for that purpose.
It was dramatically disrupted by a vociferous opposition group which included Muriel Duckworth, feminist and founding member of the pro-abortion Voice of Women (VOW).
Shouting and interrupting for the benefit of the cameras, they loudly opposed the association of a name similar to theirs with a pro-life cause. “We object to the purloining of our name. We will see that they never incorporate,” they vowed.
One VOW participant, pro-abortion columnist Sharon Fraser, used the Halifax Daily News to score the new group: “The views of some of these women are well-known around Nova Scotia from their work in the anti-abortion movement, and those views could not be more different from the genuine and original Voice of Women.”
Although founded in 1960 as a feminist women’s peace organization, VOW has, according to Ms. Fraser, “acknowledged that peace means more than the absence of war; our concerns now also encompass issues of social justice, and gender and racial equality.”
Editor: At press time the new group had changed its name to Positive Options for Women (POW).