The “Quote of the Day,” on the front page of the Toronto Glove and Mail for Saturday, July 15, said:
“If their behavior goes unpunished, we may have a society with no abortions, but we may end up having a country that is not worth living in.” (Mr. Justice John Bouck on anti-abortionists in B.C.)
On July 14, Mr. Justice Bouck of the B.C. Supreme Court informed pro-lifers who defied an injunction against blocking access to a Vancouver abortion clinic that they can expect to go directly to jail. He sentenced one man to a two-month term, three women to one month, and a 15-year-old girl to a two-year suspended sentence, commenting that she had to be treated differently but that it was “sad” to see adults allowing her to participate in this confrontation.”
These five people, he declared, are consumed with one issue in their lives. Then he made the observation of which the “Quote of the Day” was a part:
They do not see the potential harm their conduct can bring to the very kind of society they are trying to achieve. If their behavior goes unpunished, we may have a society with no abortions, but we may end up having a country that is not worth living in.”
Judge Bouck’s remarks appear typical of the callousness and obtuseness of many in the Canadian judiciary concerning abortion. He refuses to see: –that Canadian law has long since fallen behind medical science by restricting the term human being to one who has been born; that a society in which eighty thousand unborn human beings are killed each year is not a civil society at all; that judges, though they can hardly be blamed for the legal vacuum concerning abortion at present, could at least employ common law, the natural moral law and the law of God to override the inadequacies of present Canadian Law; – that judges could challenge the inappropriateness of names such as “Everywoman’s Health Clinic,” when pregnancy is not a disease and abortion not a matter of health; – that judges should know protesters against abortion are not anarchists, when unlike real anarchists, they are not objecting to the existence of law, but its absence; – that designating the singing of hymns and the reciting of prayers in front of a clinic as forms of violence manifests its own extraordinary kind of bias; – that the vacuum cleaning of a baby out of its mother’s womb, or its dismemberment, or the burning of its skin through a saline injection proves ours is not a humane society right at present.
The kindest thing to say about Mr. Justice Bouck’s remarks is that he does not realize how horrifying the slaughter of the innocent really is.
He was not amused or three babies saved from death
Grace Kelly, The Interim
This story is about three Canadian boys who were rescued from the Morgentaler abortuary in downtown Toronto. In the laneway at the rear entrance of the abortuary, sidewalk counselors showed their expectant mothers pro-life pamphlets and offered them practical help to carry their babies to term. Grateful for this help and for their cherished children, these three mothers agreed to swear affidavits in support of the five defendants who are being sued by Henry Morgentaler (see The Interim, July/August issue). Each states in her affidavit that the counselors’ approach “was totally gentle, polite and considerate” and that they “offered me an alternative to the abortion” thus contradicting media reports and accusations of pro-abortionists.
At The Way Inn, adjacent to the abortuary, the women discussed their often difficult situations and explored alternatives to abortion with counselors who then took them for practical assistance to a support agency called Aid for Women.
The stories of these three women are representative of other mothers and babies saved from the lure of the abortionists. The success of this frustrating work, often meager in visible results, is richly compensated for by babies such as Matthew, Alexander and Shayan.
At the top of many stairs, William taps rhythmically on the apartment door. It bursts open and he is engulfed with giggles and hugs from four small children: Karone, aged 10, Susan, aged six, Himon, aged four, and Matthew, aged two years. Their mother, more restrained, greets him warmly. William knows these children well, especially Matthew. If it hadn’t been for William’s intervention at the Morgentaler abortuary (aided by another sidewalk counselor, Tom), almost three years ago, Matthew would be an abortion statistic today. His happy little face and bright disposition affirm the miracle of life.
The children bubble with excitement at our visit. They implore William, who needs little coaxing, to produce his weird and wonderful animal sounds (no props) and then howl with laughter. Meanwhile, in their spotless kitchen, their mother, Gloria, aged 33, tells me the story of the family’s difficult beginnings in Canada. Over three years ago, the family emigrated from Trinidad, and she became pregnant with Matthew. She and her husband, Raam, aged 31, were so desperately poor that Gloria could only feed their baby Hirmon not milk, but tap water with added sugar.
Ram had been a farmer in Trinidad and had barely survived three failed crops because of floods. So he came to Canada, as a visitor, to explore opportunities for work. He stayed and Gloria followed, after selling her furniture for airfare, with not a penny to spare. She brought Hermon, then a babe in arms and exempt from airfare, while the two older children had to come later. Once here, the couple decided that Gloria should work and Ram stay at home (for immigration purposes). She worked as a dishwasher I a downtown Indian restaurant, during the heavy evening shift, seven days a week. Finally, exhausted and ill, she went to a doctor who found her pregnant. He recommended “an abortion at the Morgentaler clinic” because “it was quick.” He added, “she would have to pay.”
The family, financially destitute and emotionally distraught, lived in a one-room flat infested with cockroaches and rats, over a steamy bakery. The couple did not know where to go for help. Gloria recalls their terrible dilemma. “We didn’t know what else to do.” Heavy-hearted, they set out for the abortuary after being told not to use the front entrance. At the back they encountered two sidewalk counselors, William and Tom. After going to The Way Inn, where they discussed their dilemma further, William brought them to Aid to Women. Here they met Eileen, who is engraved in Gloria’s memory as “a wonderful, loving woman who helped us in so many ways. I’ll never forget her.” Eileen provided them with subway tokens, bed linens, clothing, emotional support and even arranged for Aid to Women to pay their rental arrears of $900 to avert eviction. From that day onwards, the couple’s life took a turn for the better. Eventually more help came their way during that long, hot summer of 1987: the donation from a downtown pro-life office of a used air-conditioner enabled the family to survive the suffocating heat from the bakery below; medical and social welfare referrals; the help of a resourceful public health nurse; help with immigration problems and a steady job for Ram. This allowed Gloria to remain at home and regain her health during her pregnancy. Later they moved to a small, subsidized public housing apartment. The culmination of all these events was the birth of Matthew, a joy to all. Gloria is quick to say, “William was our first friend. If it hadn’t been for him, we would have gone through with the abortion.” Even today she feels remorse at the very idea.
Forever grateful for all the kindnesses to their family, Gloria and Ram do not forget those in need. Recently they brought meals to a neighbor who was lonely and ill. Wile keeping him company in the evenings, the couple scrubbed his apartment and sprayed it for cockroaches. Gloria simply says, “I come from a family of eight children and we were taught to share.” She wants to tell her story for this reason “because it might help someone else. The hardest part is the beginning of pregnancy. After that you can survive the rest. If I can go through this experience, then anyone can.” She adds, “I think what the counselors do outside the Morgentaler place is a very good thing, because many people need help but don’t know where to get it.”
As our visit was ending, Gloria and the children came outside for picture-taking. Proudly, she told us that Karone, aged ten, and in grade four, was the only student selected from her school to attend a summer Arts and Crafts camp (with French immersion), sponsored by York University. And just before we left, she told William excitedly about an outing last Saturday, June 24, the day of the Pro-Life Clergy March, when she and her husband were in the nearby park with the children. Overhead they saw a plane trailing a sign “Morgentaler kills unborn children for $$$.” Clearly, the message was not lost on this once-destitute couple, now so grateful for Matthew.
“Sometimes,” confides sidewalk counselor William, “when I feel like rolling over in bed in the morning and going back to sleep, I think of Matthew and Alexander and I am revived.”
Alexander, aged two, and his new neighbor and playmate, Ruby, greet us with a cheery welcome. They can’t wait to hear William’s comical animal sounds and funny stories. Suad, the mother of Alexander, aged 25, goes along with the fun and later tells me quietly, “William was really good to me.” As with Matthew, if it hadn’t been for William’s intervention at the Morgentaler abortuary, little Alexander would have been an abortion statistic.
Three years ago, William offered help to a frightened and confused Suad when she wandered into the laneway behind the abortuary. She had been warned by the staff “to use the back entrance” and only realized why after first going to the front and side of the building carrying signs against abortion. Raised a Catholic in Iraq, Suad knew that abortion was morally wrong and didn’t want one; but what could she do as a single woman who would surely be condemned in her culture for her unwed pregnancy? Her family doctor, who spoke her native Arabic, told her to have an abortion and to get it at Morgentaler’s clinic where the service was fast, “but it would cost money.” As Suad had no money she was hoping to bargain over the fee and to pay it in installments. When William approached her and showed her pictures of the pre-born child and what happens in abortion, she recoiled and accepted his offer of help. Today the result of that intervention is beautiful, bright and affectionate Alexander who is alive and happy. Suad says, movingly, “I prayed so much for a baby of my own. I never wanted an abortion, but I was so alone.”
In Canada for four years and a landed immigrant, Suad came from her homeland Iraq by way of a Turkish prison. She and her brother escaped their war-torn country by using false passports and were caught. The penalty was nine months in a Turkish prison. Suad recalls those terrible days when she was among women murderers, and where she witnessed the torture of women who disobeyed the smallest rule. Homesick and confused, the world had turned upside down for her. Raised in a well-to-do family in Iraq, where her father owned a restaurant business, their fortune was secure until war erupted in Iran. Encouraged to leave by her parents, she never dreamed of what lay ahead. Strong and compassionate by nature, Suad had to adapt to prisoner perish. Here she befriended an older woman who was accused of murdering a man many years ago, and who in turn taught Suad the ancient intricate handicraft of macramé (weaving with cord0. To survive she had to learn Turkish. By the time she was released she was physically exhausted. Mercifully, she and her brother were sheltered for several months by a Catholic priest (who worked with refugees) until their passports were cleared for Canada. Suad feels blessed for her life in Canada and especially for Alexander, upon whom she dotes.
Suad wants to tell her story in the hope that it might help other distressed pregnant mothers who might choose abortion. She is grateful to William, who intervened initially, and to Aid to Women, who gave her practical help and direction and who connected her with other networks. For example, they found her a home during her pregnancy with a family who belonged to the “Jewels for Jesus” sheltering network. She speaks fondly of this Christian family and how they supported her. After Alexander was born she lived at Bethel House where she learned to care for her baby and was taught parenting skills. Next, she was helped to find a small apartment in public housing where she now lives.
Suad has had a tumultuous life and is very thankful for all the help she has received in Canada. Ignored by the father of her baby, she felt helpless and driven to abortion and says that except for the pro-life help, she would have gone through with it. Yet she wanted her by desperately and says, ”I always prayed to have my own baby so I didn’t want abortion.” She is now a full-time devoted mother to Alexander, who responds to her good care by being the happy thriving child he is. She looks forward to the future and hopes to take up hairdressing later on. Some day she would like to be able to help someone who might be experiencing the same kinds of problems she has had. Meanwhile, Alexander continues to be the light of her life.
It’s a long way from Tehran to the back alley of the Morgentaler abortuary. Reza and Nasrin know. They have traveled that route. Their love story does not end tragically, however, like that of Romeo and Juliet. It continues happily and is life-affirming.
Reza and Nasrin’s courtship has an exotic storybook touch to it, beginning back home in Iran, where each lived contentedly at home. Reza worked as a salesman in a jewellery store. One day a beautiful young lady came to the store to but a watch and caught Reza’s eye. To express his affection and serious intentions he later sent her a specially-chosen diamond, exclaiming “my heart was going bang, bang, bang.” During this time, however, Reza was planning to settle in Canada. Although he had a comfortable life in Iran and had done his compulsory military service, he hoped to have a more peaceful, secure future in Canada. Nasrin followed Reza to Canada shortly after his arrival and the couple struggled and worked in a diamond setting factory. When she found out she was pregnant, she confided in a girlfriend who told her to get an abortion at Morgentaler’s clinic. And so began a painful and distressing time in the lives of this young couple.
On a cold, rainy October day in 1987, Reza, then aged 25 years and Nazrin, aged 21 years, a strikingly attractive couple, found their way into the back alley of the abortuary. Here they met two wet and cold sidewalk counselors, Craig and Mary, who offered them pro-life pamphlets and help to continue the pregnancy. The couple was confused and upset about the idea of abortion. Raised as Muslims, each believed in the sanctity of pre-born life, but Reza could see no other option for them. They were applying for immigrant status and could barely survive financially. He worried about how they could cope with a baby in their situation. As they faced the terrible reality of abortion before them, their hearts sank, but they still decided to enter the abortuary to look. What they saw inside was a security guard casually smoking and playing cards. Sickened by the atmosphere, they walked out. Reza recalled, “It looked and felt evil in there.” His reaction crystallized his thoughts and feelings and he remembered thinking, “I’m not a criminal. I don’t want to kill my baby. It’s human too.”
Craig and Mary had waited outside the abortuary and silently prayed for the young couple. When they reappeared Reza told them, “It’s like a house of death in there.” He gave Craig his phone number and they left, shaken by the experience. Still Craig and Mary worried about the couple and so the next morning Craig called them offering practical and financial help: %500 from Save the Baby Fund to ease their money worries, basic pieces of furniture to supplement their only worldly possessions, a clock and a mattress, a used TV set so Nasrin could learn English, a medical referral to the ever-obliging, pro-life obstetrician, Dr. Ned Lacy, and even the offer of a better-paying job. Later, to legitimize their love and symbolize their new hope and joy, the couple was married on December 10, 1987. (Their wedding date coincided with the annual Prayer Vigil at the abortuary.) Craig would have been a witness but he had to appear in court that day on trespassing charges at the abortuary, so Mary filled in for him. Soon afterward, she began knitting for the next happy event in their lives.
Shayan, which means “deserving”, was born a few months later. His delighted parents summoned Craig (who brought two of his sons in the absence of their mother who was away) and Mary to the hospital, where all rejoiced at the arrival of this precious baby. They proclaimed Craig to be the “baby’s first uncle.” During the next year Craig and his wife continued to visit the family frequently. They were astonished at how quickly the couple had learned English, as compared to earlier days when they scarcely knew a word.
Reza and Nasrin are grateful for the pro-life help they have received. Without it they wonder how they could have resolved their difficult problems. They would like to urge distressed pregnant women to seek help to avoid abortions “because they don’t need to have abortions, but can and should keep the life of the baby.”
They put their gratitude into action recently when Craig phoned “to ask their help” in filing an affidavit affirming his work with them at the abortuary. They were delighted to oblige. This time Craig was grateful.
Recently, last spring, there was an occasion for two of these rescued babies to meet each other. At the court hearing of the five defendants, who have been sued by Morgentaler for one million dollars, William, another sidewalk counselor, introduced Gloria and little Matthew to Nasrin and little Shayan. The two little fellows looked at each other and hugged. They were reluctant to part when their mothers had to leave. Although no one knows what went on inside their little heads, could it be that deep in their little hearts each recognized and invisible bond in the other as a soul brother? Incidentally, Henry Morgentaler saw both of them in court. He was not amused.
New UN convention a threat to Canadians
Sue Rodgerson, For the Interim
In 1980 the Trudeau government signed (and convinced Canadians it was legally bound to implement) the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Beginning in 1982, our government incorporated many of the Convention’s articles into the Human Rights section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Soon after, traditional male/female roles were targeted by feminist groups and agents of change, often financed with government grants. All-male clubs and organizations were eliminated; speedy no-fault divorce left many women on welfare, while others were urged to abandon homemaking for new fulfillment in the paid workforce. Men were passed over for promotion as less qualified women” leap-frogged” over them—thanks to affirmative quotas.
The Convention affected both public and private sectors. It seemed that any discrimination in favour of women was tolerated, if not encouraged. Eventually it became apparent that getting hired often depended more on one’s “minority” status than basic qualifications, especially for government jobs.
Now another equally ominous United Nations Convention threatens our nation. Entitled The Convention on the Rights of the Child, it strips parents and children of rights society had taken for granted since time immemorial. It makes the 1980 Convention look puny by comparison.
With External Affairs Minister Joe Clark as head cheerleader, our government masterminded much of this Convention. In a letter to a Member of Parliament, Clark thanked the colleague for his “letters of support” for this document, which denies protection to unborn children. He also described his pleasure with a public campaign, organized by Save the Children Canada, to gain support for the final draft of the Convention. If Canada ratifies it, we are told, it will become legally bound to make our laws conform to its 54 Articles.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is broken down into three sections: Survival, Protection and Development. Since press reports have touched on only their most benign aspects, careful reading of the articles themselves is necessary to reveal the cancer within.
Preamble and Article 1
Here reference is made to the 1959 U.N. Declaration on the Rights of the Child, which states: “ the child by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and car, including appropriate legal protection, before as well after birth”
Article 1, however, defines the child merely as “a human being under the age of 18 years.” In order to protect the unborn child, it would appear necessary to specify that a human being is such “from the moment of conception.” As it stands, the Convention offers protection with one hand and withdraws it with the other.
This section calls for nations to take aggressive action , legislative and administrative, to enforce the Convention. UNICEF representative Kimberly Gamble declared that “Countries will have to change their laws and constitutions and legal system in order to comply with convention” (Toronto Star, May 27, 1989)
This reads like a page out of Sweden’s child laws. Children in that country are legally permitted to “divorce” themselves from their parents. When we look at modern Swedish life, we may be viewing our nation’s future.
According to Dr. Eric Brodin, media analyst and native-born Swede, his country’s status as the model welfare state is a myth. He notes the following features; — compulsory programs in sex education, socialization and religion intended to counteract parental values; – parents are denied the right to choose an education for their children, since private and denominational schools are forbidden; – propaganda on state-controlled radio and TV against parasitic mothers, i.e., homemakers;
As self-declared protector of the children’s best interests, the state has the right to determine the suitability of parents to keep them, and can in fact remove them without a court case or a warrant. It can also determine whether a spanking, verbal chastisement or what we would call “grounding” constitutes an infringement of the law and makes the parent subject to a jail sentence.
The U.N. Convention mimics many aspects of the Swedish model. Article 12, in particular, allows children the right to express their views in any judicial or administrative hearings affecting their welfare.
This article deals with freedom of expression, broadly defined as “the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.” Are children to have such a right, regardless of their parents’ wishes?
This section is self-contradictory. One paragraph proclaims a child’s right to “freedom of thought, conscience and religion;” the next calls for states to respect the rights and duties of parents to direct their children. These two sets of “rights” are in conflict. But if parents are prevented from instilling their values and beliefs (religious or other) in their own children, then they become little more than state manipulated day care workers, subject to their children’s whims. Governments were never created to take rights from parents; their role was to protect the family, and to protect, not usurp the functions of that God-given institution.
Often our educational system seems to have its own agenda: it strives to inculcate secular and humanistic values. This Convention serves only to reinforce that agenda.
The final paragraph of Article 14 holds a chilling thought. It limits “freedom to manifest one’s religion” by means of laws “necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others” Does this mean that children will not have the right to share their parents’ faith?
A “privacy” clause offers children the right to protection from interference with “his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, not to unlawful attacks on his or her honor and reputation” So, parents think twice before checking your child’s room for suspected drugs or occult books. Don’t accuse your neighbor’s child of breaking a window or theft. You may find yourself in court!
We live in a time when common sense is considered nonsense.
Thanks to this article, children will become targets of a well-organized media blitz to ensure access to information” aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health,” it encourages the mass media to disseminate information in accordance with Article 29’s cultivation of peace, tolerance, sexual equality, human rights and human potential; to promote an international mentality; and to develop guidelines “for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being.”
Who decides? Is the child to be subjected to propaganda from the Humanist Movement, or the New Age, or the Human Potential Movement? Any group, which strives to indoctrinate children, can take comfort from this article; thought control by the state can easily become a reality.
This section state-run day care for children of working parents. On the other hand, subsection (1) recognizes “the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child.” With the next sentence, the state makes such recognition a sham by stating that day care is the “right” of working parents. One can only assume that homemakers do not “work.”
The remainder of the Convention deals with native, minority and handicapped groups plus a myriad of additional socially based rights. Even family planning education and services (abortion?) are included are included under the heading of “preventative health care.”
Concern is merited
Space does not permit a more detailed account of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is, however, far more in its pages that merits the concern of parents and educators.
Children do have the scripturally-mandated right to be loved and cared for. Freedom, without loving discipline, is not freedom but abuse. Any parent knows that children feel truly secure only when they have limits and boundaries set for their own protection as well as for protection from others.
In no place does this Convention list parental rights or child responsibilities. Obedience, respect for the wisdom of age and authority, and reverence for God (or any
Supreme Being, other than the State) have been omitted by its creators.
What can be done?
Shall we wring our hands bemoaning the fact that little can be can be done? Let us not roll over and “play dead” when our children’s future is at stake. Let’s get “fighting mad” and confront our government leaders before it is too late.
Parents, teachers, clergy and anyone who works with children should have a copy of the Convention. It can be obtained from your local Member of Parliament or from Save the Children Canada, 3080 Yonge Street, Suite 6020, Toronto, Ontario, M4N3P4, Telephone (416) 488-0306 or Fax (416) 483-4430. Then write your local MP with a copy to the Minister of External Affairs, Joe Clark.