The last few months have seen the gradual development of an effective sidewalk counselling operation, organized by Campaign Life Toronto. Several babies have now been saved from abortion at the Morgentaler abortuary as a result of this new effort. It is expected that improved training, more committed and capable volunteers, and further development of the support structure will result in many more babies being saved.

The daily experiences of the counsellors have been worthy of a major documentary. The most difficult aspect of this work for God has been dealing with the reality of being personally involved in one life-and-death situation after another and usually being unable to prevent the tragedy. Some mornings as many as 10 or 20 women enter 85 Harbord to have their babies killed. This often heart-wrenching, sometimes tearful and sometimes exhilarating work has shown counselors the need for unlimited perseverance and improved skills and organization.

Because of the nature of the Morgentaler abortuary, the women that come there present some of the most difficult cases to counsel. These women want quick, anonymous abortions and often come without an appointment.

There are other common elements among clients of “Dr. Death.”  They usually feel that they are in a desperate and impossible situation and, admittedly, their circumstances are difficult, but never impossible. They haven’t taken time to evaluate their decision to have an abortion. They arrive at 85 Harbord Street overwhelmed by the discovery of their pregnancy. As a consequence they are difficult to communicate with and are highly prone to denial of the realities of abortion presented to them by the counselors.

Most disturbing is the fact that the majority of these women do not actually appear to want an abortion but have been pressured into this decision by boyfriends, friends, husbands, mothers, fathers, or so-called counseling or family planning agencies. No one has suggested alternatives to them. Also, counselors have found that most women have no idea whatever about the development of their unborn child, how an abortion is done, and the dangers to themselves from abortion.

Freedom of choice is overwhelmingly seen by the sidewalk counselors to be an ugly lie. For instance, a stern0looking father recently led his lovely young teenage daughter in to see “Dr. Death.”  The girl looked at the counselors with clear signs of fear and helplessness in her eyes, indicating that she did not want an abortion. They were unable to talk with her because of her obvious fear of her father and his unrelenting pace into the abortuary. There have been many similar situations involving mothers and fathers.

Another girl, escorted by two abortuary escorts, responded to counselor Bernadette Peets with tears and an obvious beginning change of heart. She was quickly pulled into the abortuary by the stone-hearted escorts who shoved the counselor out of the way. Bernadette was arrested and charged by police for trespassing onto the abortuary parking lot.

Police interference

On another occasion a first-time counselor was devastated when a 15-year-old tearfully began to respond to her pleas, only to be pulled into the abortuary after a policeman interfered with the counselling at the critical moment. Another girl responding to a counsellor was pulled away from the counsellor and into the abortuary by two security guards who quickly rushed out when they saw the girl stopping to talk.

Those who at least accept pamphlets from the counselors usually have the pamphlets snapped out of their hands by the escorts or abortuary staff. An immigrant nanny who was talked out of abortion returned to the killing centre as a result of powerful pressure from her employer who apparently made her pregnant. The list goes on and on.

The last thing involved in all these cases is the freedom of choice for these pregnant women.

But all is not lost. The picketing, counseling, and the work of all pro-lifers against the abortuary has, in fact, stopped many abortions, directly or indirectly.

A young black girl was found crying in the New Moon Restaurant across the street. She came down for an abortion but was afraid to cross the picket line. A pro-lifer associated with The Way Inn talked to her and found out that unemployment was the cause of her abortion decision. He offered her a job and other assistance. She was placed in a maternity home and the abortion was prevented.

Counsellors spent almost a full day on October 31 with a girl five months pregnant. She was eventually placed in a maternity home and is now being regularly visited and helped by the counselors. Another girl who was under extreme pressure to have an abortion was saved from abortion as the result of a major and costly effort by several people to help her.

Loving home provided

A girl who decided upon abortion out of fear of her parents’ reaction to her pregnancy changed her mind as the result of the pleading of two counselors and a late night visit to her parents’ home by a pro-life cleric. The parents were eventually very grateful to the counselors for preventing what they said would have been a tragedy. A few weeks prior to this a young couple living in poverty were placed in a loving home and promised temporary financial assistance.

These are the known babies saved but there is no doubt that there have been many more babies saved.

A great deal of pro-life literature has been distributed at the abortuary. The counselors have talked to many girls who went in and came out too soon to have had an abortion. Many who had their abortions may have at least been prevented from having a second abortion as a result of their experiences and the knowledge that alternative help is available.

Without the support of Campaign Life and the many other pro-life groups and individuals involved, this good work of saving babies and helping pregnant mothers in distress would not be possible.

As this very important work for God has been progressing, the financial costs have been increasing substantially.

Some of the girls need temporary financial assistance for things that are not covered by other agencies. There are the costs of cab fares and other expenses incurred by the counselors during an actual life-saving episode. Counsellor training, literature, and other supply costs are adding up. Saving babies costs money.

So that the counselors will not have to worry about expenses incurred by their work, a Campaign Life “Save the Babies Fund” has been established. A confident appeal is made for donations to the Fund. Donations should be sent to the Campaign Life “Save the Babies” Fund, 215 Victoria Street, Suite 505, Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1T9. Cheques should be made payable to Campaign Life “Save the Babies Fund.”  Tax receipts cannot be issued at this time so donations will be gifts of pure love.

Also, committed, capable, and prayerful volunteers are needed so that every girl going into the abortuary at least has the opportunity to talk to someone who is genuinely concerned about her and her unborn child. Counsellors are expected to put in at least one 3-hour shift per week (or every other week) and be willing to follow directions. The non-financial rewards of this work are out of this world. Those interested should call Jennifer McAvoy at Campaign Life, 368-8479.