The Coalition of Women Supporting Choice and the Women’s Health Office of McMaster University in Hamilton recently hosted a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Morgentaler Supreme Court decision, which left Canada lawless with regard to abortion.
It was called A Celebration of Choice, and the public was invited to “learn about the difficulties women faced when abortion was illegal, the struggle to legalize abortion, and the current fight to keep it safe and accessible in the face of anti-choice rhetoric.”
So five other pro-lifers and I took them up on it; but I am not sure I would describe the event as a “celebration”: empowerment, moral relativism, personal autonomy, and the perpetuation of the myth that pro-lifers are violent, abounded.
They showed a propaganda video, When abortion was illegal: Untold stories, which stated that: abortion was legal up until the 1800s; 20 to 30 women died every day from illegal abortions in the 1950s; and adoption is a cruel choice.
Retired McMaster dean of medicine May Cohen referred to pro-lifers as “the dark force,” and suggested that the pro-life movement is becoming increasingly aggressive. She had the audacity to equate pro-life language with acts of violence, and boldly claimed that, “The same person who holds an anti-choice sign is the same person who would hold a gun.”
Arguments about coat-hanger and back-alley abortions were used 30 years ago to legalize abortion in North America, and they continue to be used now. Cohen cited UN and World Health Organization statistics claiming 500 million “unwanted” children are born every year throughout the world. She argued that pro-lifers distribute false information, and she denied the overwhelming evidence of a link between abortion and breast cancer.
Rosemary Brown, former president of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League, asserted that there are many important issues, such as universal day care and violence against women, but that the abortion issue is “the issue,” because “if we lose this one, we lose everything.”
Toronto abortionist Nikki Colodny said she is “privileged to be a part of the most successful social movement” in Canada, when she reminisced about the campaign to change the “unfair” 1969 abortion law. She also expressed her admiration for Henry Morgentaler, his commitment and willingness to take part in civil disobedience.
I wondered what she thinks of Linda Gibbons’ commitment, and her willingness to go to jail indefinitely for trying to save the lives of preborn children?
Showing the pro-aborts’ true level of tolerance for pro-lifers, Colodny said that, “Sometimes you just want to lose it and punch them in the face. But you don’t really do that … unless no one is looking.”
What was most revealing was her admission that when Morgentaler opened his first clinic on Harbord Street in Toronto during the 1980s, abortion advocates really didn’t expect it to stay open. They thought the clinic would be shut down, and that they would have to take the matter through the court system.
Some women shared their personal stories of abortion. Shockingly, one woman described her abortion experience as one of “elation,” comparing it to the joy a woman experiences when giving birth.
Canadian law prior to 1988 stated that a woman seeking an abortion had to sit before a panel of three doctors who were to determine whether or not the pregnancy threatened the woman’s life or health.
Donna Randall, executive director of Planned Parenthood Kitchener-Waterloo, shared her two abortion experiences. She said she had to sit before a panel of doctors for her first abortion in 1973. Randall admitted she was coached by the doctor who would be performing the abortion (who, incidently, sat on the panel) on how to appear vulnerable. She boasted that she played the part very well.
As they delighted in their victories, there was a sense of the reality that defeat is around the corner if abortion supporters loosen their grip. Their conservative optimism quickly changed to claiming total victory, however, once they found out there were pro-lifers in the room.
It was evident to me that these women as much as admitted that the pro-life movement is winning, in spite of the current political and judicial environment. From their side, the future of abortion in Canada is in serious jeopardy. Their lies and accusations will only work for so long, and I would venture to guess the party will soon be over.