A telephone life-line: Ita Venner

The soft voice on the telephone sounded close to tears as the question was whispered; ‘is this where I can get some information about having an abortion?”

An equally soft voice, but cheerful with the lilt of an Irish brogue, answered, “I’ll help you in any way I can.  Why do you want to abort your baby?”

There was a short hesitant pause, and then the frightened, worried caller replied that she had been going out with ‘this guy,’ and now, finding she was pregnant, he wanted nothing more to do with her.  She was afraid her parents would ‘kill her’ if they found out she was pregnant.

She was seventeen years old.

Gently, the other voice asked, “When did you become pregnant?  How old is your baby now?”

The young girl responded that she was about 10 or 11 weeks into her pregnancy.

“Do you know how big your baby is?” asked the second voice.

“Do you know that your baby’s heart is already beating, and that your baby already looks like you?”

Gently, with facts and truth, Ita Venner proceeded to paint a picture of the beautiful child the girl was carrying, and that all the help she needed was available to her.

The girl kept her baby.

This is one of the many babies saved by the remarkable Ita Venner, an outstanding pro-life person who spent a lifetime in nursing and knew exactly what abortion did to unborn children.  For years she placed a small advertisement in the “Personals” column of her local Whitby, Ontario newspaper.

The ad simply read, “Abortion information? – Call (It’s telephone number).”  She got a lot of calls and her method was to reassure the worried, frightened caller that all the help she needed was available.  She always kept the focus on “your baby” and its stage of development, never talking about abortion being killing or murdering.  Instead, she constantly and persuasively encouraged the girl or woman to “let you baby live.”

Not all Ita Venner’s efforts were successful, but a great many were.  If asked directly how many babies she thought she had saved, she would simply reply, “a few,” and a beautiful smile would lighten up her face.

Ita Venner, 71, passed away on February 27, 1992.  She was buried in St. Frances de Sales cemetery in Ajax, Ontario.

Could you use Ita’s idea in your community?

She won’t object if you do.  For more on this wise lady, see Grace Petrasek’s Silhouettes against the snow published by The Interim Publishing Co.

No compromise: Rev. Alex Calder

Rev. Alex Calder died February 22, 1992.  He was a Presbyterian minister and a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Canada.

Dr. Calder was a brave man and a dedicated defender of innocent pre-born babies.  He spoke out constantly against his own church’s indifference to the scandal of abortion.

When the Family Coalition Party of Ontario got started, Alex Calder, then retired, was asked to run as a candidate in Peterborough.  A shy man, his reply was simply, “I’m scared to death of politics, but if it will help stop abortion, I’ll do it.”  Alex didn’t compromise his principles.  He received almost 10 per cent of the ballots cast.

Rev. Calder demonstrated another act of bravery when he participated in a 1989 Operation Rescue at Henry Morgentaler’s Toronto abortuary.  He had been asked to come along ‘for the ride.’  When the time came for volunteers willing to risk arrest and possible imprisonment, one of the first to move was Alex Calder.  Unlike most of those volunteers, he was walking into the unknown, yet he never hesitated.

He was 73 at the time.

A quiet, loving, gentle man, Alex Calder has gone to the Lord he served so faithfully all his life.  We will miss him.  We need more like him.