Since our press conference, February 1, 1984, the news media has been most obliging in featuring news stories on our new national women’s organization – R.E.A.L
Women of Canada.
A recent example was a Globe and Mail article (March 1, 1984), written by an investigative reporter. He had scurried to the main pro-life offices in Toronto, “unearthing” a few selected R.E.A.L Women’s roots in, and linkages to, the pro-life movement. At Campaign Life, he brashly demanded this and that. However, by the time he hit Right to Life, seasoned president, Laura MacArthur, calmly met his pointed questions, eyeball to eyeball. Yes, indeed, a few of the women he mentioned she did know and yes they had been connected to Right to Life at one time or another. Now what else could she do for him? Undaunted, he next took to the telephone, selectively interviewing a few of us on his “hot list,” meticulously checking out our pro-life connections.
Well, smack on March 1, 1984, the R.E.A.L Women, like the newly retired Prime Minister, made the Globe headlines – he in the front and we in the back. A very interesting article it was – clearly connecting a few of us directly and irrefutably to the pro-life movement. Under the caption “Beating the Bush for R.E.A.L Women,” was a picture of pro-life activist and lawyer Gwen Landolt, who apparently was pondering the glee of the press in revealing our pro-life connections. How is it they weren’t aware until now? We’ve certainly made no secret of them. It was interesting to note also the slanted and terse (one paragraph) description of Gwen’s tireless and incredible achievements on behalf of the unborn child in the past decade.
“Gwen Landolt, one of the founders of R.E.A.L., is the single most important reason the connection between R.E.A.L and the anti-abortion lobby can’t be severed. Landolt has been advancing the anti-abortion aspect of the R.E.A.L cause since 1971.”
Whatever the twist, our association with Gwen is there because of her legal brilliance and her dynamic organizational record, unequalled among feminist peers. Her expertise, combined with our own repository of accumulated skills, gained from a decade of pro-life experience, are sufficient to rally a potential membership of many thousands of women across Canada. So the question implicitly raised by the Globe is this. “Will these connections affect R.E.A.L Women’s credibility as a new, national, non-sectarian women’s organization?”
No, rather they will enhance and strengthen us. At last, we will be able to speak for the majority of Canadian women and undermine feminist domination in government, the courts and the media.
Our mandate, however, is broader than the single abortion issue, which is being handled magnificently by the pro-life movements. R.E.A.L Women wants to speak out on issues of concern to women and their families and on which we differ from the feminists. These include Daycare, Divorce, Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value, Affirmative Action, Pornography and Prostitution, Reproductive Choice, Pension and Tax Reform and other topics on which we have developed position papers. Our pro-life position is a cornerstone; not a constraint. Its philosophy motivates us to address these other issues, which unheeded could adversely affect the preservation of family values. This differentiates us from feminists who concentrate only on “women”, often at the expense of the family.
Be that as it may, to return to the Globe article for a moment, it was strange no mention was made about our beginnings and why we started. The reporter had been informed. The Status of Women groups and the NAC (National Action Council) do not accommodate women who object to their rigid policies so that excludes pro-life women; hence our beginnings. Strange too that the pro-life connection with R.E.A.L Women came as such a surprise. We’ve never denied it; our stand is clearly defined in our name and pamphlet for all to see. “L” is for Life.
The last paragraph in the article probably best describes the Globe’s rationale for focusing on our pro-life connection:
“Ironically, groups like the one Sabia headed are today labeled as institutions of ‘mainstream feminism,’ with considerable government funds at their disposal. That, presumably, makes R.E.A.L Women radical in its quest for the ‘traditional.’
So there it is. To be pro-life today in a women’s organization is to be radical. To be “traditional” then must also be radical. This is the truly curious twist. As the reporter had been told, we want top keep the best from the past and present, and to strike a new balance for the future.
Never mind the article’s twist. As a gesture of goodwill the R.E.A.L Women of Canada, to be equally fair, now want to make a suggestion to the Globe. Give the same investigative reporter the assignment of sniffing out the connection between the NAC and the push for Morgentaler clinics across Canada. That would be “democratic” and nice “balanced investigative reporting.”