Clergymen stand up for life
It was the year that three clergymen stood up for life – even at the risk of going to jail. It was the year that three clergymen with padlocks were vindicated by the courts. Pastor Fred Vaughan, and Fathers Ted Colleton and Alphonse De Valk were charged with mischief for having padlocked the back gate of the Morgentaler abortuary. At their trials, all three trials being held together before the same judge, the clergymen testified that their actions were motivated by a desire to defend unborn children and occasioned by the illegal nature of the Morgentaler abortuary.
In February, Provincial Court Judge Lorenzo DiCecco rendered his decision in the matter, finding all three clergymen not guilty. In his reasons for judgement Judge DiCecco said “…the Court has no hesitation to state that the actions of the occupants of 85 Harbord Street [the abortuary] constitutes a prima facie case of a violation of Section 251 of the Criminal Code.” During the trial, Judge DiCecco was even more forthright when he commented, “That the location was opened for only one purpose – to flout the law.”
Prince Edward Island became Canada’s first abortion-free province this summer when the Prince County Hospital in Summerside decided to disband its Therapeutic Abortion Committee. The hospital was the only one on the Island to have a TAC, albeit no abortions had been approved there in five years. During that time pro-lifers had vigourously campaigned to have the hospital adopt a no-abortions policy. Success came on June 3, at the hospital’s annual members’ meeting, where the vote was 978 to 396 in favour of disbanding the committee.
“We care about women’s problems,” said Mary Peppin, a long time activist. “We want to help them. But killing their children is not the solution to the problems of our society.” Added spokesman David Peppin, a former national president of Alliance for Life, “It’s a big victory. We are naturally quite pleased.”
Newfoundland became Canada’s second abortion free zone in 1986, at least for a while. The only hospital in Newfoundland that performs abortions, General Hospital in St. John’s, no longer has a doctor willing to do abortions. Dr. Bernard Miller, the last abortion-performing physician in Newfoundland took and extended sick leave beginning in the summer. Try as it might, General Hospital’s administration was unable to locate a doctor interested in performing abortions. Dr. Patrick O’Shea, a general practitioner and chairman of the Right to Life in St. John’s, said that he is very happy to see that Newfoundland doctors have made a conscious decision in performing abortions.
Unity in the pro-life movement
A new and promising unity among the pro-life groups in Canada is emerging out of a series of meetings held in 1986 among the leaders of Canada’s largest pro-life groups. Representatives of Alliance for Life, Campaign Life and Coalition for Life, the national educational body and the political action groups met in Lethbridge, Alberta in June, in Winnipeg, Manitoba in October and in Ottawa shortly before Christmas. At the meetings, common goals and problems were discussed as were ways of working together to promote protection and respect for Canada’s unborn children.
Each of the three groups has been in existence for at least eight years and only now have the leaders of each group gathered to meet to discuss ways of co-ordinating their efforts. “These meetings are one of the greatest signs of hope” said Campaign Life Chairman Jim Hughes; if all pro-life people are unified in their actions, we can do so much more to save babies from abortion.” Further meetings are planned for the coming year.