At the end of August, the political stalemate over Morgentaler took an unexpected turn in Ontario. Instead of showing some backbone and legally closing down the illegal abortuary in Toronto, the Liberal government showed itself to be as spineless as the previous Conservative administration. Attorney General Scott’s wheeling and dealing is covered fully elsewhere in this issue, but I want to address the theme of “violence” which seems to have been the leading concern of those involved in this tawdry political move.
We all know where the violence is committed: on the abortionist’s tale at 85 Harbord Street. That is where 10 or more times daily an unborn child is sucked out of his mother’s womb in pieces and flushed down the garbage disposal. 10 or more frightened women a day lie down on that table and surrender their peace of mind for the rest of their lives, because they are told that this is the answer to all their problems.
Cheating the women
How many of these women receive truly unbiased counseling before they climb onto that table? Surely each “counselor” working right there at the abortuary believes that abortion is right and cannot be objective toward the individual and her needs. How many of them are given the explicit information needed to give truly informed consent to their “operation”? Descriptions of fetal growth, the risks of physical and mental damage to the women are ignored as, supposedly, being too inflammatory to the woman. And yet this kind of information is required to be given to patients undergoing any other type of medical procedure.
It is ironic that those who call themselves “pro-choice,” are so arrogant that they hide the kind of facts that we pro-lifers have at our fingertips, and yet we’re called the “fascist fanatics’ and ‘anti-choice.” How ironic it is that the pro-life movement is constantly accused of caring only for the baby and not for the woman in need. We are the ones who offer genuine choices to abortion; they’re the ones who deny a choice and cheat the woman, not to mention the baby. Perhaps the feminist groups who promote abortion would have more supporters if they changed their tactics and woke up to the fact that they’re exploiting women. (And not only the pregnant women: statistically, more than half of those aborted are young women. They might have grown up to be feminists.)
Not in the press
However, the accusations of violence are not hurled at the abortionists, they are hurled at the picketers and sidewalk counselors, not only by those with a vested interest in gathering more supporters for their cause, but also by those who really should know better. How many of those supposed pro-lifers who abhor violence have bothered to go down to that abortuary day after day and watch what really goes on?
Last week I heard a story that has not been reported in the press. A male pro-lifer was with the sidewalk counselors that day. An obviously-frightened young woman approached the abortuary with an escort at each elbow. As the counselors started to talk to her, she began to listen intently. After a few moments, the escorts started to move her on. The young woman commented, “who the hell cares anyway,” as she walked on. The male pro-lifer heard the remark and shouted “we do. We love you. We’ll help you.” A policeman, who, until that moment, had been passively watching, stepped in. He told the man who had spoken that if he said anything else he would be arrested and charged with harassment, and he then joined the escorts and hustled the woman into the abortuary. To kill her child. Where is the violence?
This kind of police action is not an isolated incident. A woman pro-lifer told me that a similar thing happened in her presence. She had brought a friend to counsel for the first time. A young woman had listened to the friend, “reached out to her for help,” I was told, “and was abruptly pulled away” when a policeman intervened. When the counselor protested such action, the policeman replied, “It’s my job.” Now, it seems. Not only do we have to ask, “where’s the violence?”, we have to ask why the police protect an illegal activity with such determination. Does the police force now work for Henry Morgentaler?
I’ve also heard stories of passers-by (see Father Ted’s column) who have hurled abuse at decent family people with children who are standing silently with placards. You read in The Interim last month about the woman who pointed a shotgun at a priest, a young woman and a young boy. Where is the violence?
Last Spring, I heard a speech by Joe Scheidler, the leading pro-life activist in the U.S. Joe is a very direct, very inspiring speaker, and I imagine he makes many wimpish pro-lifers most uncomfortable. He said that he has been questioned endlessly over his direct approach. His answer is quite simple: he says, “what else can I do? They’re killing my babies.” Where is the violence?
My point is that stories of pro-life “violence” are false and have been carefully planted to foster animosity and to discredit pro-life. Such stories divert attention from current police policy, which seems to be directed towards protecting those who have been committing, and who continue to commit, a felony (a crime “regarded by the law as grave, and usually involving violence”).
The highly visible work done by the picketers and counselors at the Toronto abortuary is the most difficult task any pro-lifer can take on. They deserve our support, not condemnation based on misinformation and propaganda supplied by those hostile to life. We know where the violence is, and we know who the real victims are.