News of Louise Summerhill’s death made me wonder just when and why she founded Birthright, M.P., Toronto, ON.

By 1967 Louise Summerhill was already in the struggle against abortion as secretary to an early pro-life group in Toronto (Britain legalized some abortion in 1967 and Canada’s government was pushing to follow suit, which it did in 1969).  She heard of the work of Abortion Anonymous in Birmingham, England.  This was a telephone service, at a time when abortion was still illegal, which advised women who wanted abortions where and to whom they should go.

Louise Summerhill felt more drawn towards helping pregnant women than political lobbying, and Abortion Anonymous gave her the idea of who to do so.  She began to plan a telephone service which would save life, not destroy it – offering practical advice and help to pregnant women in distress.  There was much thought, fear and prayer, but on October 15, 1968, Birthright was born.

The story of Birthright was published in 1973, the same year the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the states’ abortion laws. By that time there were already Birthright centers across Canada and in 37 of the states in the U.S.  “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Louise Summerhill’s candle, lit in 1968 has shown the way for two million mothers to spare their babies.

Catholics are constantly told that abortion is only a Roman Catholic issue.  How do you reply?  N.M., Toronto, ON.

If such people who say this looked at Life Chain, Operation Rescue, The Way Inn, Christian Action Council and Campaign Life Coalition, to name but a few pro-life organizations, they could easily see that this issue is one which concerns people of many religions, or even no religion…It is also a civil rights issue.

Abortion condemns a human being to death, even though innocent of any crime, because of age and place of residence.

In 1983, in the Borowski case, the lawyers tried to tie the anti-abortion evidence of the witnesses to religion.  Eight of the world-renowned experts were questioned about their religion, and all eight made it clear that their testimony was based on scientific fact, not religious dogma.

Three experts were from other countries.  Sir William Liley (the Father of Fetology) from New Zealand, said his religion was “a little ecumenical.”  He had attended Methodist Sunday School, Presbyterian Bible Class, and was married and had his children baptized in the Anglican Church.  Dr. Jerome Lejeune, world-famous geneticist from France, is a Roman Catholic.

The third non-Canadian was Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who had been an abortionist in the U.S. in the early 1970s.  He had become a leading pro-life activist by 1983.  He said he was an atheist.  He made it clear that his reasons for changing from promoting abortion to fighting it came from new insights in the study of the unborn child and “did not stem from any religious belief.” (Today, however, Nathanson is no longer an atheist).

Three of the five Canadians were leading specialists in obstetrics and gynecology: Dr. Heather Morris of Toronto, is Jewish; Dr. Patrick Beirne, Toronto, is Roman Catholic; Dr. John Donovan Brown, Regina, said he was “orange” Presbyterian.

The remaining two doctors were Dr. Harley Smyth, neurosurgeon, Toronto, an Anglican and Dr. Robert Kudel, Saskatoon, a specialist in diagnostic ultra-sound and radiology, a Roman Catholic.

Medical men and women who care passionately about protecting both their patients in a pregnancy are, like society at large, from many denominations.  One may also add that Moslems consider abortion an outrage.

How soon does un unborn baby begin to hear sounds?  L.A., London, ON.

Modern technology makes it possible to monitor a baby’s response to noise.

Since time immemorial some mothers have felt their baby jump at a loud bang, but today, by 19 to 20 weeks, it is possible to measure the increase in the baby’s heart beat, in response to a loud, sudden noise, by electronic fetal-heart monitoring.

It is interesting to note that a deaf mother’s heartbeat does not change at the sudden noise, but her pre-born baby’s does.  This is another proof that the baby is a separate human being, and not part of the mother’s body.

By 22 weeks of pregnancy it is possible to get audiometric curves to measure the child’s hearing and these are often done to reassure deaf-mute mothers.

Tests show that the unborn child will often respond to certain types of music, and that some babies can be conditioned to predict sounds.  After a while babies get bored with repeated sounds, and ignore them. (This habit, like thumb sucking is one often carried on after birth).