Pro-lifers’ successes in saving babies through sidewalk counseling outside abortuaries and hospitals are often unknown to the public and ignored by the secular media. Here are some success stories…
Joanne Dieleman and friends
Joanne Dieleman, despite having two disabled children at home, manages The Way Inn, a counseling service-come-snack-bar adjacent to Morgentaler’s notorious Toronto abortuary and a considerable pain in the neck to him. For the past four years, Joanne has conducted her own Operation Rescue year round. Saving babies is her business and she has been very successful at it. She believes that the recent large-scale Rescue in Toronto saved 15 babies from being murdered, the number usually scheduled for a Saturday.
“I don’t think that they went to Scott’s (another Toronto abortionist) because he’s closed on Saturdays,” Joanne said. The third abortury, run by Nikki Colodny, is only open, according to the newspapers, three days a week and not on Saturdays.
“Whether the same people came back to Morgentaler’s on Monday, I couldn’t tell you, “ she added. “A girl who I believe was pregnant came to The Way Inn the Monday after Operation Rescue and wanted to know how many babies we had saved. She had been down Saturday and was impressed by the determination of the crowd of peaceful picketers.
“We save several babies a week. Our presence beside Morgentaler’s is very useful. A girl made an error and walked in to The Way Inn instead of into Morgentaler’s recently and we were able to talk her out of having an abortion. We refer girls to pro-life doctors, who refer them to various agencies for help. It gives me a good feeling for humanity when we can save someone from having an abortion.
Through rain and shine, snow and hail, heat and cold, her remarkable group stands tough and deserves the plaudits of the whole world.
Grandmother Rosalie to the rescue
One evening there was a knock on the door of Jean-Marie and Rosalie Jette’s modest home in Montreal, Quebec. It was followed by a plaintive cry for help. At Rosalie’s insistence, her husband opened the door. A frightened young girl threw herself into the room. Listening to her breathless tale, they quickly understood that the unfortunate young women being chased. Almost immediately furious pounding could be heard at the door. Quickly the girl was pushed through a trap door into the cellar and the rug replaced over it. Fearfully, Rosalie’s husband opened the door to allow into the house two extremely hostile men with axes in their hands. When they were shown the empty kitchen, the two men calmed down and apologized for the trouble they had caused and left. The girl, now safe from danger, freely acknowledged a sexual indiscretion to Rosalie and thanked her for her kindness. A few hours later, she went home, resolved to lead a better life.
This incident is believed to be the catalyst for the work that Rosalie Jette, a grandmother and mother of six married children, would begin at the age of 50 when she founded the Sisters of Misericorde, almost 150 years ago. She understood fully that confused pregnant unmarried girls need maternal affection even more than shelter and medical attention.
Rosalie Hall, which the Sisters operate in Toronto, will next year be celebrating 75 years of service. Sister Therese Bonneville, s.m., the lively executive director, described Rosalie Hall as a community and residential support centre for single women during and after pregnancy.
Many changes and new initiatives have occurred over the years. In 1960, they opened their doors to pregnant day students and the following year weekly follow-up and support programmes began for the growing number of mothers who choose to keep their babies. Now almost 95 per cent of mothers keep their babies, thus creating new avenues where they must be helped. Rosalie Hall conducts a wide range of services including in-residence schooling, pre-natal classes, arts and crafts and mother and child groups.
The Hall has a staff of 30, including five full-time high school teachers. Last year almost 300 volunteers gave of their time. This expansion of services has created a need for larger, yet more home-like surroundings for the 65 to 90 moms-to-be and 30 to 40 babies to toddlers they have at any given time.
Serving an area of over two million people has put a great drain on their financial resources. They get considerable provincial government support but still must make up what is sorely lacking (close to a million dollars) from donations from the Knights of Columbus and various service clubs. A vigorous fund-raising campaign is underway.
I had a tour of Rosalie Hall and was impressed by the non-judgmental approach of the staff, the religious programme for the girls and the warm, friendly furnishings and surroundings. Unmarried mothers of all faiths are welcome. Heroines all, in my books, as is anyone who welcomes a child into the world.
Edmonton Pregnancy Crisis Centre
“When we’re hard up for money – as we were this week when we needed $300 – more than that amount of money arrived in the mail on one day, unsolicited,” said Phil Scadlosky, chairman of the Edmonton Pregnancy Crisis Centre. This seems to happen all the time, he insisted.
The Centre is run by private donations with no government funding. It operates out of a large, centrally-located office building with a number of government departments in it. Doctors, other centers and happy former clients, along with yellow-page advertising supply the Centre with its clientele. Phil said that the expectant mothers are then referred to “shepherding homes,” good-natured families who are willing to look after pregnant girls from 9 months to a year.
The Centre also supplies the mothers with 6 weeks to 4 months post-partum car. Legal counseling is also provided at no cost and there is even o\an offshoot of the Clinic, a non-profit private adoption agency which places the approximately 10 per cent of the babies who are put up for adoption. The expectant mothers go on welfare for 6 months and then they can choose to go back to school, (many are aged 13 to 18), or seek employment.
If they want to continue their schooling, they are referred to Terra school, a non-denominational school run by the Association for Assistance to Unwed Mothers, financed and supported by Catholic and public schools and the United Way. The school runs from grade 9 to 12. Some girls live in their ‘shepherding home’ while attending this school.
The school provides the usual high school courses, but also pre-natal courses, group discussions, day-care assistance and a well-baby clinic. Parents and boyfriends of the mothers are also counseled. Expectant mothers are referred to pro-life doctors and there is always a follow-up.
A Rose by any other name
The Rose of Sharon is an ecumenical centre that looks after the single mother and baby up until the baby is two years old if necessary. It is run by Catholic, United and Anglican churches in a big spacious house in Aurora, Ontario. Rae Smith, the public relations officer, says the centre obtains its clients through agencies who have heard of Sharon.
She said that it is more difficult to raise a child alone because the mother often finds it hard to make ends meet and she can’t be spelled off by another parent. It takes courage to keep the baby and raise it, she said. The mother gets support while she is at school or work from the Centre. She is also taught parenting and life skills by the Centre.
Rae Smith notes a positive change after a while in the single mother’s attitude. Single mothers, she feels, have a need for community. If they have any particular religion, they are encouraged to practice it. The staff try to become Christian role models for the girls, always trying to demonstrate unconditional love.
Moncton Crisis Pregnancy Centre
The Moncton Crisis Pregnancy Centre operates out of a large medical clinic! A number of doctors and even a physiotherapist with offices in the building often refer clients to them, said volunteer Ruth MacDonald.
They have only been open at this location for the past 18 months but they have already encouraged 175 girls to have their babies. Many of the girls are referred to them by a friend or see the Crisis Pregnancy Centre’s ad in the yellow pages. The Centre uses the services of a number of support agencies.
Some babies are placed in foster homes, some are put up for adoption, but the vast majority are kept by their mothers. They are assisted at all times by an association known as “Support for Single Mothers.”
Aid to Women saves both
When Dick Cochrane, the executive director of Aid to Women in Toronto, Ontario, talks of saving babies, as he does frequently, he insists that he is also talking about saving “mothers lives” as well. He stoutly claims that you can’t save one without the other, and to him, each of them is equally important.
“When we save the baby’s life,” he said, “we also save the mother from the mental and physical ravages of abortion and restore to her the dignity of motherhood. How many babies do we save at the Aid to Women Centre? As many as we can! But let me add that saving even one mother and her baby, makes it all worthwhile. We operate out of a modest downtown office building and have volunteer registered nurses talk to the girls. They are attracted by our ad in the yellow pages and occasionally some blunder in thinking that they are going to get an abortion on the spot. They’ll get everything else from us – but an abortion.”
Two adopted girls thrill parents
“Never a dull minute.” Carol and Paul Schuster of Ontario, say of their two adopted daughters, two and a half year-old Crystal and five year old Sara, who were adopted as babies.
Carol takes great joy in being a full-time homemaker. Paul is a fire-prevention office with the Richmond Hill Fire Department. They have two sons, 19 and 23, but were anxious to be parents of young children again. Their enthusiasm was sparked when they read a newspaper column about the availability of two babies but they were too late. As Carol said, “babies go fast.” After a six-month wait, they were able to adopt the girls because they are part Ojibwa Indian and so is Carol (Her grandfather was an Indian Chief.)
Crystal and Sara are not blood sisters but get along famously together. Both of the girls’ mothers were unmarried. The joy that they have brought to the Schuster family, according to Carol and Paul, is indescribable. The picture of Sara as a three and a half year old baby and then as a four year old young lady speaks for itself.
Out of the mouths of children…
The Ten Commandments
Helen Walsh, the brave pro-life mother who recently attempted to walk across Canada was approached by a little girl who told her that Canada didn’t need a new law against abortion. There already was one, she said. It was called “The Ten Commandments.”
“You mean kill it?”
During the July abortion debate in Parliament, MP Don Boudria related the story of how he tried delicately to explain abortion to his ten-year-old daughter. “You know, Julie,” he said, “when a woman gets pregnant, if she decides for one reason or another that she does not want to have a child, she can have an operation to remove the child, to have it taken out of her womb.” Julie answered. “Remove it – you mean kill it?” Boudria commented, “My ten-year-old daughter understood in 30 seconds what I had failed to understand for so long.”
Through American Eyes: Canada’s first
By John Cavanaugh-O’Keefe
On October 29, a large portion of the abortion industry in North American was closed down by the action of thousands of determined and loving pro-lifers, who placed their bodies on the line to protect the helpless. Perhaps the greatest success of the day was in Toronto, where 75 rescuers, including Joe Borowski, Joan Andrews and Anne packer, closed Morgentaler’s abortuary.
The rescue was organized by Kurt Gayle, the activist who fasted for 19 days on Parliament Hill during this summer’s abortion debate, and Anne Packer, the wife of the Toronto police constable who was fired for refusing to guard an illegal abortuary. These leaders imposed an impressive discipline on people assembled from across the country, plus a handful of Americans; the rescue teams and their supporters maintained a commitment to peaceful intervention, singing and praying for over seven hours despite provocation and arrest.
At a morning session of prayer and final instruction, Anne Packer explained that there were specific individuals appointed to speak to women approaching the abortuary, to the police and to the press – and no one else was supposed to interfere with their work. After praying for the success of the rescue, the activists piled into two buses and a long line of private cars and drove to the Harbord Street abortuary. Arriving at 8:50, they separated into four groups. About 30 people blocked the front door, supported by scores of pro-lifers singing and praying on the sidewalk. About 45 people blocked the back alley door, with scores of supporters singing and praying in the alley. Most stayed there until almost 4 p.m., when the abortuary closed.
Joan Andrews, who had been out of jail for just 11 days, after spending two years and seven months in prison for unplugging an abortion machine in Florida, joined the rescuers in the front. Flanked by Joe Wall and Atom Herlihy, she sat quietly tucked in a corner of the low fence by the sidewalk. In mid-morning, the temperature dropped and a few snowflakes blew past; Joan was seen shivering. But she insisted that she was not cold, just “shaking with emotion.”
During the morning, six mothers approached the door, and were turned away. One listened at length to the pleas of the sidewalk counselors, and appeared to be moved; she and her child were probably saved. The other five gave no indication that they were inclined to change their minds, but at least for the day, they were spared.
On most Saturdays, 15-20 children are killed there. It is likely that more women with appointments approached the scene, but left quietly. They and their children were given another day, but there is no way of determining what happened later in the week with them.
Between 8:30 and 8:50, before the pro-lifers arrived, the abortionist and several mothers entered the abortuary. It is possible that as many as four children were killed there, despite the efforts of the rescuers.
The police who came did not attempt to clear the doors immediately. It appeared that they were content to wait for some hours; hoping that cold or boredom would drive many, if not all, of the pro-lifers away.
Around noon, local pro-abortionists began gathering to respond to the rescue. There was a peace march scheduled that day in Toronto, and there are many homosexuals in the neighbourhood around Morgentaler’s; the pro-aborts, with homosexual and peace-activists allies, gathered about 100 people within hours.
They met at a nearby “feminist” bookstore, and discussed their strategy. According to several pro-lifers who listened in, they decided that they had to precipitate an incident in order to force the police to act. Further, some of them believed that it was important “for political reasons’ that some of their own group get arrested, as well as the pro-lifers.
The contrast between the angry, chanting pro-aborts, and the clam, singing pro-lifers was striking. At one point, two pro-aborts realized that they were standing next to pro-lifers who were saying the rosary. They moved away quickly, with expressions of complete disgust, as if they had just stepped in something and wanted to get rid of it.
At 1:30, the pro-aborts attacked the pro-lifers on the front steps, pushing and shoving to get through the tightly packed pro-lifers, and also trying to drag pro-lifers away. The incident was reported as a “demonstration turning violent,” but in fact the pro0-lifers maintained their calm, locked arms, and kept singing. One pro-lifer was bruised and scraped, but there was no retaliation.
After 15-20 minutes, the police intervened, separating the two groups with a line of officers. At that point, they began to arrest the pro-lifers. They were obviously reluctant to make any arrests, and they especially wanted to avoid arresting Anne Packer, a cop’s wife. But with only one wagon, in heavy traffic, it took several hours to arrest 39 – not including Anne.
During the arrest in front, three pro0-aborts tried to precipitate a crisis in the back. One young woman attacked a police officer, punching him repeatedly and screaming curses. He tried to ignore her, holding his nightstick out to ward off some of her punches, and she eventually gave up. She stood there, frustrated for several minutes, still screaming, and pointing to the person who she said mattered the most, herself.
In front, the pro-aborts learned that there were some Americans there (from the Human Life International conference in Toronto that weekend), and began chanting, “Yankee, go home.” Unfortunately for the inhospitable chanters, their targets were from Border States, where “Yankee means “civil rights activist,” where “Yankee” means “Yankee, go home” has been the cry of segregationists determined to suppress the rights of the vulnerable.
Shortly before 4 p.m., the police pulled the last ten people off the front steps, dropping them in the street. The pro-aborts entered Morgentaler’s and claimed victory, but it was too late in the day to kill anyone. The abortionist was seen leaving minutes later.
The rescuers were charged with “breach of the peace.” They were not fined, nor asked to return for trial.
For an American, watching the abortion crisis in Canada, it was a great relief to see that so many Canadian pro-lifers will act to protect children immediately, not just dither and preach for 15 years before waking up. The successful rescue at Morgentaler’s Toronto abortuary on October 29, protected a dozen babies, and was also a tremendous boost for the pro-life movement around the world.