In the opening address to the national convention of Alliance for Life and Campaign Life Coalition, petite Halifax lawyer, Mary MacLennan, spoke of the wisdom shown in the way ancient civilized societies carefully guarded the rights of their unborn members.

She gave a bird’s-eye view of twentieth century developments.  “We’ve come a long way since Hammurabi and Hippocrates,” she said.  “A long way down!”

Inspirational as her words were, even more inspiring is the matter-of-fact and graceful way she copes with being armless – a handicap that in today’s view would render a child unfit to be born.

Courage and inspiration of a different kind were contained in the message, person and example of Constable David Packer of the Toronto police force.  After recounting the consequences of requesting a transfer from guard duty at the Morgentaler abortuary, he went on to issue “a clarion call to action,” which many people later described as the most unsettling session of the weekend.  Packer is convinced that Canada is inevitably going the way of the United States.  “Despite our efforts, four thousand unborn children a day are killed on this continent.  As good as our current methods are, they are not going to win the abortion battle.”  He is convinced that we have to be willing to be arrested, to become “prisoners for life,” to prevent the killing of our brothers and sisters.

When he spoke on the need for stronger church leadership in this “most deadly, most evil war,” his audience indicated strong agreement with his view.  “The bishops of the Roman Catholic Church have tenure for life.  They have nothing to lose, everything to gain.  So why are they not saying as shepherds to their flocks, ‘We are going to lead you in this, because that’s our job’” he asked, voicing what puzzles so many.

In Packer’s view, a view his audience clearly supported, “If the Roman Catholic leaders of government want to bring in laws that permit abortion, if they want to go on killing people at an accelerated rate, then it seems to me that the hierarchy should simply tell them, ‘Either you are Roman Catholic, or you are pro-abortion.’”

As he sees it, this issue of abortion provides the churches with the one big opportunity of our times to show that they are valid, vital, relevant and credible.  “If they chose to, they could turn the whole abortion situation around.”

Packer is convinced that in the current political climate, the law we receive will not provide justice for the unborn, and asks, “What are you going to do?  Tiptoe away?  In my opinion, we don’t have any choices left.  Out time has run out.”

Following his address, Constable Packer received the Kurelek pro-life award “in recognition of outstanding contribution to the development of respect and appreciation for the dignity and worth of human life.”

One suspects, though, that appreciative of the award as he was, he would be infinitely more grateful if everyone took his words to heart and acted on them.