“Human life begins with the newborn’s first breath.”  This incredible remark from Ernie Epp, the NDP member for Nipigon-Thunder Bay was all the urging that Fr. E.T. Kennedy needed to place the following in his local paper:

“A reward of FIVE THOUSAND CANADIAN DOLLARS will be paid by the undersigned to the FIRST scientist of any discipline, who can demonstrate in the cold light of pure science that a little person begins to be a person at some moment other than the time of his or her conception in the womb.”

Father E.T. Kennedy

Annunciation Catholic Church

P.O. Box 369, Nipigon, Ontario

A priest for nearly a half century, and 10 years the pastor of Annunciation Catholic Church in the northern Ontario town of Nipigon, Fr. Kenned was also responding to January’s Supreme Court decision overturning the federal abortion law.

It late April (after Fr. Kennedy raised the reward to $10,000), the Times-News of Thunder Bay carried the story.  From there radio CKOC in Hamilton, the Toronto Star and the Archdiocese of Toronto’s paper, The Catholic Register, gave it province wide publicity.

Fr. Kennedy deplored the situation where pro-lifers have had to provide the biological defense of the humanity of the pre-born child.  The burden of proof, he insisted, should rest with the scientists and the physicians.  Let them provide the indisputable evidence that this violent and final intervention in the prenatal existence of a human being is scientifically justified, he said.

Where pro-life people assemble the hard, scientific facts to advocate the protection of pre-born human life, Fr. Kennedy asserted, pro-abortion scientists and their apologists take flight in airy speculations about “social significance” or “wrongful life” to justify the medicalized killing of the innocent.  It is a sad comment on our country that so many of our public officials are more willing to listen to the latter, he said.

The Nipigon priest dismissed viability as the criterion for legalized abortion – a criterion apparently being seriously considered by the federal government as it frames its new law.

A child is viable when it can survive outside its mother’s womb.  In other words, when it has it has achieved a certain independence.  But this is a relative thing, not fully autonomy.  Before viability, and following; after birth and throughout childhood, the life of a growing human being is a shifting ratio of independence and dependence, Fr. Kennedy said.  Even the independence an adult has achieved is relative.  Without his social relationships and the supports of society, his existence would be impoverished.  If not in some circumstances impossible.  Thus, argued Fr. Kennedy, dependence is a fact of all human life, and should be a reason, not for legalized abortion, but for being responsible for one another from birth to death.

To date, no one has come forward to claim the reward.