Thunder Bay City Council has voted to end its financial support for an abortion referral centre in the city, following an intense lobbying effort by Campaign Life Thunder Bay. For several years, City Council has made an operational grant to the northwestern Women’s Centre. Last year’s grant was for $20,000 and in previous years, the annual grant was as high as $24,000. The funding of the centre became a matter of controversy last year when Campaign Life learned that he centre was a base for pro-abortion lobbying and abortion referrals.
Campaign Life’s investigations revealed that the pro-abortion lobby group Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL) was holding its meetings in the Women’s Centre, and that its information racks featured pro-abortion propaganda. When the issue of funding for the centre came up for consideration last year, Campaign Life spokesman John Carroll argued against funding the centre and outlined the pro-abortion activities carried out there. His remarks sparked quite a storm.
Shortly after his appearance before City Council, and following a column Carroll wrote for the May ’86 edition of The Interim. Notices of Intent to Sue were issued by the Women’s Centre and the two pro-abortion alderwomen who had vigorously supported the centre, stating their intention to sue Carroll, Thunder Bay Right to Life and The Interim, for allegations which had been made. Neither the alderwomen nor the Women’s Centre pursued the matters further.
No public support
“The notices were simply meant to intimidate us,” said John Carroll. “Though it was unnerving, we knew that the pro-abortionists were feeling threatened and we had to continue our lobbying effort.”
The municipal funding of the Women’s Centre kept alive a key pro-abortion lobbying effort in North-western Ontario. Over 90 per cent of the centre’s budget came from the municipal government. “It was clear that without a grant from Thunder Bay council the Women’s Centre would not be able to continue – it simply did not have the support of the people of Thunder Bay,” said Carroll.
Prior to the year’s council meeting, Campaign Life further investigated the activity of the Women’s Centre and found out that only did they do abortion referrals, but the centre also made appointments for women to have abortions done at an American abortion clinic. The Women’s Centre offered to escort the women to the abortuary located in Duluth Minnesota. Armed with this information, pro-lifers met with individual members of the council and were able to present them with a petition signed by over 400 people, objecting to the continued funding. Further bolstering opposition to the funding of the centre, was a letter, sent to aldermen by a Thunder Bay citizen, revealing that the Women’s Centre had recently shown two pro-lesbian films to the public.
Thunder Bay City Council voted eight to two in favour of ending the funding of the centre. The only two alderwomen who voted in favour of funding Betty Kennedy and Dusty Miller, were the two who had previously threatened to sue. Conspicuous by his absence at voting time, was Mayor Jack Masters, who waited until the vote was taken before entering the council chambers.
“We are delighted that the funding has been stopped,” said Carroll, “of course it is outrageous to think that taxpayers’ money was ever used to support a centre for pro-abortion activity.”