Picketers protesting the Toronto Morgentaler abortuary have been very effective. Organizers report that very few abortions are being done at the abortuary and reliable sources confirm that very few have been done since it reopened on December 10, 1984. The average now is only one or two per day and this low number is attributable almost solely to the vigilance and endurance of the hearty pro-lifers who have worked all winter at the thankless job of picketing 85 Harbord Street.
Some of them like Timothy Jordan consider it an “apostolate” others, like Francisco Ganhao, call it a “job”. Some people say that it is their duty to be there; still others say simply “I must be a witness to this murder, and I must try to stop it.” In any case it has been a cold and bitter winter in Toronto and it takes a very special person to dedicate time and effort to carry on the protest.
Stella McLellan has come down to protest in front of the abortuary nearly every day since it reopened on December 10. She pickets for two to three hours and often is joined by her husband Joseph, a building contractor. On special rally days she comes for the whole day. Stella is a housewife and mother of one child. Each day she prays for the protection of the unborn, for the conversion of the abortionists and for mothers in distress. Mrs. McLellan says that she is “very much pro-life” and has been consistently writing to politicians since the 1969 amendment to the Criminal Code which has, in effect, given Canada abortion on demand. Stella is a member of Toronto and Area Right to Life and each day attended the Ontario Supreme Court trial of Henry Morgentaler.
Francisco Ganhao, 63, protests in front of the Toronto abortuary nearly every day. He has come for the last ten weeks and pickets from nine to five o’clock. A Canadian citizen for 23 years, Francisco, a carpenter, protests the abortuary “…to defend life, because the unborn cannot defend themselves.” He adds “very soon they will kill the old people too and the sick as well. Only God can give or take away life, not a “doctor” or “butcher.”
Helen Burnie has been coming for 11 weeks now, spending six or seven hours each day picketing. A retired nurse, she says, “I do not believe in murder, especially the murder of babies,” adding, “I care about the next generation.”
Mary Burnie is Helen’s sister and a biochemist. Because she works during the week, she comes on Saturday mornings and has picketed each Saturday since the abortuary reopened.
Rita Burnie is a registered nurse, retired from 34 years of service in Toronto. She pickets three days a week for about four hours each day. Rita says the abortuary should be closed, if only because Morgentaler is breaking the law and is not licensed to operate a “hospital”. She says that nurses try to help people get better, “that is why people work in hospitals.”
Joanne Dieleman has been coming to picket three days per week since the abortuary reopened. She comes at 9:30 after taking her children to school and stays until 3:00 when she goes to pick them up. Joanne is the mother of eight children including two adopted handicapped children. She says, “I feel it is my duty to fight the killing of unborn children. I have written letters, I have sent telegrams, now I picket.”
Godwin Cotter has been picketing Monday to Friday since January about three hours per day. Mr. Cotter is a student at the nearby University of Toronto. He says he pickets because, ‘This is the most important issue. If we lose on this one they may take away all our rights.”
Dave Lloyd, 31, an artist (OCA graduate) is the picketing co-ordinator for Campaign Life. Dave got involved in the picketing after he saw some arrests of pro-lifers on television in January. He reports that the picketing is very effective and that very few abortions are being performed at this abortuary, perhaps only one or two per day and on some days, none at all. Dave had his first one-man show last year at the Delbello Gallery in Toronto. He says “Artists have to have a lifeline with nature with nature and abortion is a breaking of natural law.” The artist, he says, “tries to be in harmony with all life.”
Tim Jordan, 25 spent three months prior to the reopening of the Morgentaler abortuary working on an apple farm, grading and processing apples for sale. Before that, he spent one year at Madonna House in Combermere, Ontario. He has been protesting the Toronto abortuary every day since it reopened in December. He says “I must be a witness against it (abortion). I believe that as a Christian, I must be in resistance to evil.”