It all started with a phone call to Campaign Life Coalition. Greg Murphy was on the line stating that his girlfriend, Barbara Dodd, who was 15 weeks pregnant, was getting an abortion and what he could do about it. The word “baby” was mentioned so the caller referred to Aid to Women. Richmond Cochrane, the able executive director of Aid to Women, listened patiently to Murphy and then said to him: “This is obviously a legal matter. Stay where you are for the next ten minutes and I’ll get back to you.”
Cochrane got in touch with Jim Hughes of Campaign Life Coalition and Jim got in touch with Angela Costigan, a pro-life lawyer, who agreed to take the case. This was an old scene to him and Angela- possibly their twelfth attempt to establish the rights of the father and protect the unborn child from being killed.
Whoever dreamed that the fall-out would shake the Supreme Court of Canada-expose the shallowness of the “pro-choicer”- embarrass the Mulroney government into announcing a law for the fall- give a boost to the pro-life cause- put abortion, which the pro-abortion media has tried to happily ignore for the past year-and-a-half, back on the front page of every daily paper in the country, including an eight page section in McLean’s magazine?
And the further fall-out? Alerted by a friend at work about the Dodd-Murphy injunction that had been granted in Ontario, Jean-Guy Tremblay, a 25-year-old Quebec auto service representative, obtained a court injunction in Quebec to prevent his pregnant fiancée, Chantal Daigle, from having an abortion. This injunction was upheld by the Quebec Supreme Court on a 3-2 vote shortly afterwards. (A pro-abortionist female judge was one of the two dissenters.)
Barbara Dodd and Greg Murphy went to Quebec to plead with Chantal not to kill her baby as Barbara had. Barbara wanted Chantal to think about “the baby inside you begging for life.”
Astonishingly, Canada’s Supreme Court, which normally takes months and sometimes years to come to a decision, as in the Borowski and Morgentaler cases, was able to pull five, then eight justices back from vacation for an emergency Tuesday hearing.
In one week Barbara Dodd switched from a pro-abortion heroine to a pro-life advocate and shocked the whole country. Hers was a topsy-turvy story with Judge John O’Driscoll of the Ontario Supreme Court preventing her from having an abortion anywhere in Ontario, and then being overruled by Justice Gibson Gray, in a higher court ruling. Then Gray condemned the unborn child to death in a publicly televised statement!
After this happened Greg Murphy’s lawyer Angela Costigan asked for the remains of Barbara Dodd’s aborted fetus so Murphy could “give it a proper burial.” Dodd’s lawyer Clayton Ruby refused the request, but there was a touching memorial funeral service shortly afterwards at The Way Inn, next door to the Morgentaler abortuary.
I got a phone call from Jim Hughes asking me to set up a press conference. He said that Barbara Dodd and Greg Murphy were back together again, and that she that that she had been duped into having an abortion and regretted it very much. I was stunned. Barbara had denounced Clayton Ruby for hurrying her to have an abortion. She had cancelled once to her own accord. Ruby ha told her not to have any lunch and after the injunction was lifted, took her and a female companion to see a movie and afterwards to Morgentaler’s Toronto abortuary for a late night hurry-up “free” abortion.
Barbara claimed that the pro-abortionists had abandoned her after that. At 8:00 a.m. one Saturday morning, Barbara appeared at Greg’s home in Whitby to apologize to him and tell him that she was sorry for what she had done. She wanted to go public and tell everybody about her mistake in having an abortion.
Greg invited Barbara in and they had a long chat- in sign language; both of them have severe hearing disabilities. They agreed on a plan of action. Barbara had wanted to go public immediately- that same Saturday. Greg prevailed upon her to wait, and he quietly attended the funeral service at The Way Inn for Barbara’s dead baby without telling anybody at Campaign Life Coalition that Barbara and he were reconciled. On Tuesday morning, July 18, Greg broke the news to Jim Hughes, the executive director of Campaign Life Coalition, who made the arrangements for what was to turn out as a barnburner of a press conference at a downtown hotel at seven o’clock that evening.
I drove the couple down from a hotel where we had secreted them and was astonished to see droves of media people standing on the sidewalk. I had to double-park on the street. There was even a crowd of people who had assembled across the street. I helped Barbara out of the car and she was immediately surrounded by the media.
After parking the car, I attended the press conference. I was impressed by Barbara’s beauty, her charm, her enchanting voice, and her ability to handle an openly hostile press. They were angry because she had switched from being a pro-abortion feminist to a pro-lifer; they cast aspersions on her motives. Greg came in for a few barbed questions and handled them adroitly. All in all, it was a good day for the pro-life movement; the pro-abortionists were shocked, angry and biter.
The fall-out-from the press conference was amazing-countless interviews, including an exclusive interview with MacLean’s magazine with a front-page color picture of Barbara and eight-page write-up about abortion, which was quite balanced. Even film offers, book offers, modeling jobs (and a $10,000- a-week job offer as an exotic dancer- turned down flatly) poured in.
Without Greg Murphy’s phone call – without Barbara change of heart – without John-Guy Tremblay’s friend at work hearing about the Ontario lawsuit – Canada would not have had Chantal Daigle’s epic case in front of it and 80,000 abortions a year would have remained just a statistic. God writes straight with crooked lines.
The story is still unfolding.