HALIFAX – Herm Wills, head of Campaign Life Coalition – Nova Scotia, is stepping down after nine years of practically total
immersion in pro-life issues.
A good strategist, a great networker, Herm’s trademark has been a constant stream of pro-life messages and updates to every
government member, church leader and community activist whose fax number or e-mail address he could get.
But a decade of pouring time and money into the cause has left him “pro-life poor,” compelled to concentrate more on his
business and on providing for his own family.
Herm recalls that in 1988 the big issue was to block abortion and infanticide. Today, the appalling expansion of anti-life attitudes
means also trying to deal with fetal issue harvesting, immoral sex education, militant homosexual activism, virulent anti-family
legislation, and euthanasia.
‘At what price?’
“Canada has already gone far beyond asking why we kill people. We’ve already agreed that we will. Now we’re deciding who
we’re going to kill, and at what price,” he notes.
Herm Wills was drawn into the pro-life world by a series of apparently isolated events. Personal contact with a hydrocephalus
child – the film The Silent Scream – a loved one’s close encounter with abortion – Helen Walsh’s heroic walk – Jim Hughes’s
words and example.
Each experience led to further involvement. Eventually he teamed up with other Nova Scotia leaders – including Ed Mullen, Joe
MacLellan, Diane Smith, Ed Lapierre, Anne Marie Tomlins – to form a small core of valiant activists who keep trying to plug the
holes in the dyke.
“We care, but does anyone, even the church, care that we care?” Herm says.
Herm is deeply disappointed that so many churches distance themselves from today’s life and death issues. He suggests the
church requires its own Operation Rescue.
“In the face of such massive moral and spiritual evils, to do nothing is to consent. I see the churches giving consent with their
silence on a whole assortment of moral issues, not just on abortion and euthanasia.”
He is convinced that solid church support for pro-life efforts would have meant victory long ago. “If they would even financially
support those who are trying (to do their job), people like myself could stay in this fight longer,” he says.
Another disappointment is that despite great effort, pro-life membership has increased very little – partly because it is incredibly
difficult to present the truth through the media. “There’s a hidden agenda and a form of censorship,” he says, “though many
reporters don’t seem to realize they are part of it. Many don’t even remember a time when abortion was illegal.”
Herm treasures his decade of intense pro-life involvement. “Meeting so many fine Christians has affected me profoundly. They’ll
never know how much they have meant to me. It’s truly a heartache to think that I may never see some of them again,” he says.
Originally he saw the movement as representing right versus wrong. Now he describes it as a “path to heaven that many are not
There’s an urgency in Herm’s voice as he says, “Tell people if you can do nothing else for the pro-life movement, resolve that
you will not keep the death of 100,000 children a year a secret. Tell your neighbors. Tell your friends. Break the conspiracy of
“Tell them too, that when something is wrong, it remains wrong no matter how things may change. And the commandment, Thou
shalt not kill, doesn’t include the words ‘unless,’ or ‘except for.'”
Herm is taking a breather, but he can’t just walk away from 10 years of pro-life involvement. “You know,” he says, “once you
understand the Ten Commandments, you realize that this work is a life sentence.”
He will be helping Interim columnist Charles Moore and others to establish the Atlantic edition of The Ottawa Times, and to
promote The Interim. He will continue on the board of Campaign Life Coalition Nova Scotia, and possibly continue to send out
a few of those late night faxes and e-mail messages many of us have come to value.