Joe Borowski, a man who has fought a 25-year battle for the unborn, is now fighting a personal battle with cancer.
Borowski, 63, was treated for bladder and prostate cancer last fall, and despite an extended stay in hospital, he believed he was making progress. Early in 996 however, Borowski began to experience pain in the lower back. A bone scan revealed the cancer had spread to the hip bones.
“I was feeling strong for a few months after the operation and thought I had it beat,” Borowski told The Interim. “I began to feel some pain that I thought might have been arthritis, but it was worse than that. The outlook from my doctor isn’t very positive, but I intend to keep fighting.”
Long an advocate of health food and natural medicine, Borowski sought alternative treatment at clinics in San Diego, California and Mexico. In May, he traveled to the Opal Clinic north of Ottawa where he was treated with a special liquid diet consisting largely of herbal teas and fruit juices. He has shown slight improvement and returned to his Winnipeg home May 22. He has resumed work at his health food store.
Borowski retains a stoic attitude in the face of bleak news. “I look upon this as a chance to get my house in order,” he said. “We’re never really sure about these things. It reminds me of the old proverb, ‘Pray to God and row for shore.’” It’s an attitude that has characterized Borowski’s 25-year struggle for the unborn.
Borowski first gained notoriety in 1971 when he resigned as a cabinet minister in the Manitoba NDP government over its support of abortion. He also refused to pay his income tax to protest against federal abortion funding. His action led to jail terms and a long-running battle with Revenue Canada.
In 1978, Borowski initiated a court challenge of Canada’s 1969 abortion law. The proceedings would monopolize most of his time and resources over the next 10 years. The case drew attention to the humanity of the unborn child, but was suspended in 1988 when Canada’s abortion law was declared unconstitutional.
In 1981, Borowski staged an 80-day hunger strike to protest the lack of protection given unborn children in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The action had Borowski branded a fanatic by commentators in the mainstream media, but it solidified his standing in the pro-life community.
In January, Borowski received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For the Church and Pope) medal for his service to the church and the pro-life cause. The medal was presented to Borowski at St. Vital parish in Winnipeg.
Father Patrick Morand, Borowski’s pastor as St. Vital Church said the dedicated pro-lifer has asked for prayers from the local community. He said Borowski still attends Mass as often as possible despite some weakness and discomfort.
Borowski offered an interesting comparison between his illness and the ongoing struggle against abortion. “Abortion is just another form of cancer,” he told The Interim. “Instead of attacking the individual, it’s a disease that attacks an entire people.”
Although his health prevents Borowski from a more active role, he continues to inspire other Canadian pro-life supports. “Just pray and keep up the struggle,” he said.
Readers can write to Borowski at: 437 St. Anne’s Rd. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3M 3C7