A Candlelight Procession and Prayer Vigil which attracted almost 2000 participants indicated how pro-life forces in Peterborough have rallied against the proposal to provide expanded abortion facilities in the community.
First came the announcement that the Board of Governors would meet to discuss the new abortion facility. This was thinly disguised under the title “Women’s Health Care Clinic.” Various pro-life groups, headed by Peterborough Physicians for Life and the Peterborough Pro-Life Association, organized an evening vigil to coincide with the meeting on December 3. An anticipated crowd of 500-600 people quickly grew into thousands. Hundreds assembled in the city health unit parking lot a quarter of a mile from the Civic Hospital to begin the march to the concourse in front of the hospital. Walking four abreast, with candles protected from the biting wind by styrofoam cups, the procession took 15 minutes to file past the hospital.
It was moving and impressive spectacle as they as they assembled in front of the hospital singing “Amazing Grace.” Special emphasis appeared to ride on the words “was blind but now I see.”
A group of 35, mostly young and very vocal pro-abortion women were already assembled as the first marchers arrived. These hecklers were very noticeable by the signs they carried on which the word “women” was spelled “womyn.”
Short speeches were given by representatives from the Catholic Cathedral and local Pentecostal Assembly, whilst the president of Trent University Students for Life made an eloquent appeal for young people to get involved.
The hospital board room, visible from the concourse, remained with curtains drawn. At one point, they were drawn back for a few moments by one declared pro-life member of the Board, Lois Harte-Maxwell. They were then closed again by other members of the Board. But the message received by the pro-life forces was obvious: the decision to go ahead with the health Care Clinic was deferred until February 4 1988.
This was exactly what the pro-life movement wanted sine there were three new appointments to be made to the Board of Governors. As we go to press, it is understood that two of the three new appointments are well known Peterborough pro-lifers: Glen Pagett, a City Alderman and Marty Murphy, a local lawyer and past president of the Peterborough Pro-Life Association.
The vigorous pro-life activity in Peterborough has been reflected as well by the Letters to the Editor in the Peterborough Examiner.
Five to seven pro-life letters are being printed every day, although some are heavily edited and words like “killing and “slaughter” are deleted. Pro-Abortion letters, however are not so numerous.
On December 10, the Civic Hospital was the scene of a second vigil: the Peterborough Pro-Life Association held a candlelight vigil in front of the main entrance from 6:00 p.m. till midnight. This vigil coincided with that at the Morgentaler abortuary in Toronto and similarly commemorated the over one million babies slaughtered In Canada since 1969. Prayers at the start of each hour were led by clergy representing various religious communities. At midnight a bunch of 18 red roses was placed in the snow around a sign which read “In memory of all the babies killed by abortion.”
Said Paul Morgan, President of the Peterborough Pro-Life Association: “This vigil is to tell the Board of Governors that the people of Peterborough are not going to sit by and let the killing of innocent little babies continue. They have not only to hear us, they have to listen to us.”
Ten pro-Life Associations: “This vigil is to tell the Board of Governors that the people of Peterborough are not going to sit by and let the killing of innocent little babies continue. They have not only to hear us, they have to listen to us.”
Ten pro-life representatives made a presentation of a petition of 6000 signatures which stated: “We the undersigned, are totally opposed to the expansion of any abortion facilities in our region and demand that all future abortions be stopped.”
They also presented 177 written submissions to the Hospital’s Board of Governors.