Calgary City Council has voted to continue funding a major abortion referral agency. This reverses an earlier decision in which the council had voted to cut off funds to the Calgary Birth Control Association (CBCA). Funding for the CBCA has come from the federal and provincial governments as well as Calgary City Council for several years. At the same tie as it has been receiving public funding, the CBCA has been Calgary’s principle abortion referral agency.
The extent of the CBCA’s abortion business was made public in a story published in the Calgary Herald. It revealed that the centre had done 142 abortion referrals in the month of March. During tat same month the agency had provided personal counseling to only 189 persons. According to the CBCA these individuals were counseled for a wide range of problems. Yet the Calgary Herald figures show that over three quarters of them were referred for abortions. “We do a high level of abortion counseling,” admitted Verona Slater, a past-president of the CBCA.
Because such activity was being provided with taxpayers money, Campaign Life Calgary, led by Mike Malley, went into action. For the past two years the CBCA has been the centre of pro-life protests in Calgary. The office of the CBCA was picketed every week. There were sit-ins and padlocking of the door of the centre. Mr.. Malley sought an injunction to stop city hall funding and attempted to have the operators of the centre charged with violating the Criminal Code. These latter efforts were rejected by the courts.
Some of the activists, such as the sit-ins, resulted in charges being laid against pro-lifers. One incident involved holding a banner reading “Justice for the Unborn” in front of the doorway to the building housing the CBCA. People entering the building had to stoop under the banner and a charge of mischief was brought against the protesters.
All of these activities brought the issue municipal funding of the CBCA to the forefront. Campaign Life Calgary waged a lobbying effort to have City Council end it’s funding of the CBCA. On April 27, there was an initial victory. The CBCA lost its request for funding of $175,000 on a six to six vote by City Council.
Calgary’s pro-abortionists then started a campaign to have the city reverse its decision. They encouraged supporters to phone city hall to protest council’s decision. However, in the first three weeks of their campaign, calls to city hall asking for funding to be stopped out-numbered pro-abortion calls 3,148 to 2,868. The deluge of phone calls was so great that city hall workers stopped counting the number of calls after the third week.
Countering this show of grassroots opposition to the CBCA was a strong propaganda campaign mounted by the pro-abortion media. Typical was an article by Rosemary McCracken in the Calgary Herald. The headline of the article proclaimed “CBCA fears losing abortion-prevention role.” In the article a CBCA spokesperson expressed concern about the ending of municipal funding because “it will be the end of an effective force in preventing the need for abortions in this city.”
In June, city alderman succumbed to the pressure. Over the objections of pro-life alderman Ann Blough, council voted 11 to 4 to grant $165,000 to the CBCA. Said Mike Malley, “Campaign Life challenged the aldermen to be faithful to God the Creator of Life, receiving criticism from the aldermen who all maintained they were Christians who would not be influenced by religion in their vote.”