During 1987, some two dozen Members of Parliament spoke out in the house of Commons on abortion. Under Standing Order 21, an opportunity is given to MPs each day before Question Period to make one-minute statements on topics of their choosing. Pro-life members took advantage of this opportunity during the course of the year. As well, debates on Mitges’ Motion, John Reimer’s Bill C-216 and Svend Robinson’s Bill C-208 provided further opportunities for MPs to speak in favour of the rights of the unborn child. Selected quotes from MPs statements and speeches on debate are reprinted below.
Jan. 21 – Gus Mitges, P.C. (Grey Simcoe)- “…I am concerned about a recent news item which distorted the facts concerning Canada’s abortion law… As all members of the house know… our unfortunate abortion law makes no reference to any legal time limit on so-called therapeutic abortions. What individual hospitals may choose to prohibit is separate from what the law allows. If a doctor can be found who is willing to perform the procedure, an abortion could be performed at nine months… I call upon the national media… to stop spreading misinformation aimed at making the killing of unborn children more socially acceptable.”
Jan. 29 – John Gormley, P.C., (The Battlefords-Meadown Lake)—“…The present abortion law has been in place for almost two decades. During this time hundreds of thousands of abortions have been performed. Many of those children did not pose a significant threat to the lives of their mothers and were aborted for the sake of convenience…Many Hon. Members of the House agree with me in deploring the over 65 000 abortions performed each year in Canada…Canadians expect their legislators to take up the issue of abortion since the present law satisfied no one… There are no easy answers in the abortion debate, but we owe it to millions of concerned Canadians to begin asking the questions.”
Feb. 3 – Alan Redway, P.C., (York East)—“…I am very concerned about the number of abortions performed in Canada and I feel that not enough attention is paid to adoption as a solution to problems pregnancies…Clearly there are thousands of Canadian families eagerly awaiting to adopt children. I believe this option is not stressed enough to women seeking abortions. We should work to dispel the myths surrounding adoption and to promote it as the act of love that it most surely is, both on the part of the mother giving birth and on the part of the adoptive family.”
Feb. 9 – John Oostrom, P.C., (Willowdale)—“…The Ontario liberal government of Premier David Peterson has commissioned a report which recommends that Ontario establish 12 legalized abortion clinics…Over 70 000 abortions a year occur in Canada, and they are used primarily as a means of birth control. The Ontario government is proceeding arbitrarily without consulting the people. So much for the major campaign promises of the Liberal government to shut down free-standing abortion clinics.”
Feb. 19 – Bob Corbett. P.C., (Fundy-Royal)—“In 1981 I spoke during the Constitution debate and urged that the rights of the unborn child be included in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I still believe that an unborn child must be accorded every right to protection as accorded those who can speak in their own defence…I urge the Government to take the appropriate action to included the rights of an unborn child in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
Mar. 3 – John Oostrom, P.C., (Willowdale)—“…the conference with has received government funding of $15 000 annually… has excluded REAL Women who represent a pro-family viewpoint. Why is a double standard being applied by the Secretary of State? The views on pro-life groups are farm more important that anti-life lesbian rights. Pro-life deals with life and this fact supercedes all others. To paraphrase George Orwell in Animal Farm, it seems some people are more equal than others.”
Mar. 11 – Bill Gottselig, P.C., (Moose Jaw)—“I was very pleased last week to meet with representatives of the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association who traveled to Ottawa to present a brief to Saskatchewan members… The abortion rate in Saskatchewan has dropped steadily over the last several years due in large measure to the excellent work being done by Saskatchewan pro-life groups. I commend them, and I urge them to keep up the good work.”
Mar. 18 – Paul Gagnon, P.C., (Calgary North)—“…In the riding of Calgary North some 37 000 households received a questionnaire with respect to [Mitges’ Motion]. Some 1895 people responded. The results show that 1251 believe the motion should pass, while 622 think it should be rejected… Some 66 per cent of the respondents in Calgary North support the protection of the unborn.”
Mar. 30 – John Oostrom, P.C., (Willowdale)—“…Eclipse of Reason focuses on second-trimester pregnancy. This film shows quite graphically the manner in which they are killed. Dr. Nathanson has stated, ‘Abortion, all abortion is violence, and violence is impermissible in a world of reason. Late abortion, the systematic and deliberate destruction of a viable fetus, is especially odious,’ …I am pleased to note that Dr. Nathanson is with us in the gallery today.”
Apr 10 – Girve Fretz, P.C., (Erie)—“…About two weeks ago some Members of Parliament and the public viewed a film…on the subject of abortion. In this documentary film…we saw the surgeon insert into the woman’s body forceps which crushed the baby’s head and then pulled the baby apart, limb by limb and pulled the part out of the woman’s body. It is shocking to realize that this is not only happening in the first trimester, but in the third trimester as well…That is certainly murder…”
Apr. 27 – John Reimer, P.C., (Kitchener)—“…The recent decision of an Ontario judge to make a fetus a ward of the courts gave dramatical legal sanction to a position already held by many thoughtful Canadians, namely that the fetus is not simply a potential life but rather a life with potential. As elected decision-makers, it is highly irresponsible for us to continue to ignore the growing medical, legal and sociological evidence which leads to this irrefutable conclusion.”
May 5 – Bob Nicholson, P.C., (Niagara Falls)—“Abortion is one of the great moral questions of the 20th century. In September of 1984 the people of Canada has sent us here to take tough decisions. I believe every Member should state clearly how he or she stands on this issue. I suggest it is unacceptable for members to avoid making a decision… We owe more than that to ourselves and our constituents. Therefore…I say to all members stand up and be counted; all of Canada will be watching.”
May 13 – Alan Redway, P.C., (York East)—“ I…often overlooked in this ongoing debate is the impact that abortion has on the economy and jobs. An example is the number of school classrooms that might have been filled had abortions not taken place…The unborn of 1980 would have filled 1644 classrooms…If there had been no abortions between 1971 and 1981, 14 117 more teachers could have been employed in Canada this year…”
May 14 – John Oostrom, P.C., (Willowdale)—“Today marks the eighteenth anniversary of the current abortion law… The anniversary today will be marked by pro-life Canadians all across Canada… Alliance for Life, Campaign Life and Coalition for Life in an effort to remind Canadians that human life is precious and that abortion, infanticide and euthanasia should not be tolerated in our society. I commend them for their initiative in bringing these issues before us.”
May 19 – Gordon Taylor, P.C., (Bow River)—“…Some 60 000 unborn babies are murdered every year in Canada. Cradled in the mother’s womb should be the safest place in the world for a child, but not in Canada; certainly not for the 60 000 who were aborted during the last 12 months. I urge every member to give unborn in Canada chance to live by passing M-37.”
May 28 – Walter Van De Walle, P.C., (Pembina)—“…Residents of my riding are concerned about the number of abortions performed in our province…6544 unborn children were killed in Alberta in 1985…I agree with the concerns of my constituents. I have never hesitated to state that abortion is the killing of an innocent human being…”
June 2 – Bill Gottselig, P.C., (Moose Jaw) –“…There used to be a myth that standing up for the rights of the unborn child might be committing political suicide. The vote this afternoon will dispel that myth once and for all. Support for this motion from many parts of the country has been overwhelming…I urge all Hon. Members to be in the House this afternoon and vote in favour of Motion M-37. It is literally time to stand up and be counted.”
Oct. 1 – Jim Jepson, P.C., (London East)—“Canadians have recently been made aware of the survival of two remarkably premature infants. One was born only 141 days after conception…the other after only 145 days…Unfortunately Canada’s abortion law would have allowed for aborting of both those children…In 1985, 1815 babies between the ages of 17 and 20 weeks were killed in Canadian hospitals and an astonishing 181 were killed after the twentieth week…Human life is a continuum that begins with conception not birth. Those babies are aborted are no less human that those born…”
Dec. 1 – Gus Mitges, P.C., (Grey Simcoe)—“The Province of Ontario is about to condone the opening of 12 free-standing abortion clinics. Those clinics will be nominally attached to certain hospitals in order to become quasi-legal. This action is flouting and is in direct violation of a federal law by providing abortion on demand… The federal Government has the responsibility to see to it that federal legislation is carried out by the provinces and that federal statues are enforced. How many more thousands of unborn babies must dies before this carnage is legally brought to an end?…”
Debate on M-37
(P.C.), Gus Mitges’ Motion, to include the right to lie of the unborn child in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
Bill Domm, P.C., (Peterborough) -“…I support the motion proposed by my Hon. Colleague to include unborn human persons in Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is improper and indeed I consider it to be immoral to deny children the right to life and the right not to be deprived of life save in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”
Girve Fretz, P.C., (Erie) -“…I have always believed that the humanness of the unborn child is the key issue in the abortion question…As a Parliamentarian I am deeply distressed that compassionate people…turn a blind eye to the rights of the unborn…I believe that any pregnant woman who has the courage to take her child to term deserves our full support as politicians, whether she keeps it or gives it up to the thousands of adoptive parents whose homes are warm and waiting. The child merits the concern and protection of society, regardless of the circumstances of conception and birth.”
John Gormley, P.C., (The Battlefords-Meadow Lake) -“…I think we should…look at the most important poll of all, and that is the length list of the numbers of abortions performed every year in Canada…. We can not and should not say any longer that it is someone else’s responsibility. It is the responsibility of al 282 Members of this Parliament to see this issue addressed.”
Rob Nicholson, P.C., (Niagara Falls) -“…The question as to when life becomes human is, never. Like life, humanity is continuous …Human life is not started, it is transmitted. There is not instant or interval of time between fertilization and birth when the unborn offspring is anything but human…By destroying life to ensure one’s economic and social success the human race is losing its honour and dignity.”
Robert Wenman, P.C., (Fraser Valley West) -“…Sitting in the gallery today is my 10 year old son Kraig. On the way here, I said to him:” I’m going to speak about abortion today. What do you think?’ He said: ‘Well I think all kids should have the right to live.’ I agree with my son’s statement. When my son was in his mother’s womb, the doctor told us that we may have to consider an abortion. He asked how we felt about that. We said that we must give this child a chance to live. We gave this child a chance to live and we love him. Abortion is not right.”
John Reimer P.C., (Kitchener) -“…Is the unborn a potential human being or a human being with potential?…It is my contention that the fetus is from conception, a human being with potential… One fact is that all of the information necessary for the development of each of us as a unique human being is contained in the genetic code that is present in us from the moment of conception…We are dealing with human beings. All the evidence leads to that conclusion. Let us make sure our actions and our laws do the same thing.”
Blaine Thacker, P.C., (Lethbridge-Foothills) -“…My own position, when I first studied the issue superficially and quickly was clearly pro-choice… However, I must say as I studied the issue more, as I read and thought and talked about it my position changed…I have tended to become more pro-life than pro-choice. I have no doubt medically that life begins at conception…I think the rights of the child have to prevail earlier in the pregnancy than they do at the moment.”
Lawrence O’Neil, P.C., (Cape Breton Highlands-Canso) -“…The core of my opposition to abortion on demand is a conviction that this is a violation of the civil rights of the unborn child…It is time that we amended our Constitution to reflect that biological reality. It is time that Canadian jurisprudence explicitly reflected the right of the unborn child to life.”
Bob Corbett, P.C., (Fundy-Royal) – “…The fact that the Charter of Rights does not recognize the right to life and the rights of the unborn child is very serious shortcoming…I submit that unborn children are human beings who, by reason of their physical and mental limitations, require special safeguards and care including appropriate legal protection…What we are seeing here is that innocent human life may be taken to protect the quality of life of a person more powerful, a person with choice.”
John Nunziata, Lib., (York South-Weston) –“…If we conclude that life begins at some moment before birth, it would follow that the unborn person, the fetus should be entitled to each and every protection afforded to living human beings under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms…On a balance of probabilities—I have come to the conclusion in my mind…that life begins at some point before birth…I intend to vote in favour of this resolution.”
Paul Gagnon, P.C., (Calgary North) -“…If I went hunting and saw a bush move, prudency would dictate that I should not start shooting into the bush in case it was not the animals I was hunting but another human being. The same sort of prudency dictates that we do not terminate fetuses unless we can be absolutely, irreversibly prove that they are not human beings…We cannot afford to be wrong…”
Vince Dantzer, P.C., (Okanagan North) -“…I believe it is a national scandal that we kill by abortion between 60 000 to 70 000 human beings…I believe that a human being with untold potential is present from the moment of conception. I believe that every human being has the right to life. I believe that no one and no Government has the right to take an innocent life…or to kill an innocent human being.”
Debate on B-216
(P.C.), John Reimer’s Bill, to amend the Criminal Code to limit abortion to cases directly and imminently threatening the mother’s life:
John Reimer, P.C., (Kitchener) -“…I am convinced that from conception to birth we are dealing with the life of a new human being. Surely when we speak of abortion we are talking about two lives—the life of the mother and the life of the child. Why else would we call a pregnant woman a mother?”
Ross Belsher, P.C., (Fraser Valley East) -“A repeat abortion means that the woman having an abortion has had at least one other…More women were repeaters in 1985 than the total of all the officially recorded abortions in 1970… I think we could all agree that pregnancy is not a disease and abortion is not therapeutic. It heals no diseases but kills human beings.
Debate on C-208 (NDP), Svend Robinson’s Bill, to amend the Criminal Code to abolish Therapeutic Abortion Committees and legalize abortion in all circumstances and places if performed by a qualified medical practitioner:
Ross Belsher, P.C., (Fraser Valley) -“…The number of abortions performed in 1985, over 60 000, proves that abortion is… undertaken for elective socio-economic reasons… What is now termed ‘therapeutic’ abortion is nothing short of murder of unborn children.”
Bill Gottselig, P.C., (Moose Jaw) –“…With choice and freedom comes responsibility. Any time that we are in any diminishing that respect for life, and it certainly is done through abortions, then we as a human race are losing something…We cannot have a double standard. Either life is accepted as sacred for all society or society runs the risk of cheapening the value of human life.”
Bill Attewell, P.C., (Don Valley East) -“…in our own family…we decided that a fourth child should be an adopted one. We adopted young John Fraser… It struck me so many over the last 20 years that if abortion laws had been a lot more liberal then his birth mother might very well have sought an easy means from whatever was in her heart and mind at that time and we would not have had the privilege of raising that young man.”
None of the above motions and bills—Mitges, Reimer and Robinson—were accepted by the House of Commons.
Pro-Lifers from every walk of life in Canada and the U.S. tell it like it is-how they feel about the past year—and what this new year looks like to them. They range from people who counsel pregnant girls outside abortuaries to a medical doctor who conducted 60 000 abortions personally and is now a pro-life crusader.
These pro-lifers come from a great variety of religious backgrounds—or no religion—but the one thread they have in common is: SAVE BABIES! They feel called to different fields in the pro-life movement—hear different drummers—but they are all engaged in the same battle to save the lives of the unborn, doing it according to their ability and as generously as they can.
Interviews conducted by Frank M. Kennedy
Amyotte, Earl, Windsor, Ont., Director, Campaign Life Coalition.
Highs: Bouquets should go to P.C. David Packer for having the courage of his convictions and he’s certainly a man for all seasons. And also this goes for Jim Demers out in B.C. who didn’t mind going to jail for a good cause.
Beardshall, Anne, Edmonton, Alta., Past President Campaign Life Alberta.
Highs: Borowski’s appeal being considered by the Supreme Court of Canada. Packer’s brave stand hit the newspapers and the media all across Canada and did a lot for the pro-life movement.
Low: The CCCB action against the Mitges’ Motion and the growth of the NDP pro-abortion mentality.
1988: I am hoping to see more awareness in people of the humanity of the unborn. The Evangelicals coming aboard the pro-life movement in increasingly large numbers. I see AIDS reducing the amount of casual sex leading to “disposal babies.”
Borowski, Joe, Winnipeg, Man., President, Alliance Against Abortion.
Highs: The Supreme Court of Canada agreeing to hear our case. The amalgamation of national pro-life groups to form one powerful organization.
Lows: The Ontario Government’s refusal to take action to close illegal abortuaries.
1988: That we win our appeal before the Supreme Court which will be the culmination of efforts by hundreds of thousands of pro-life workers across Canada.
Brown, Judie, Stafford, Virginia, U.S.A., President, American Life League.
Highs: Judge Bork in his bid for the Supreme Court of the United States brought a focus to the public and increased discussion within the media about 1973 Supreme Court decision. We had 310 pro-lifers occupy an abortuary in New Jersey. After incarcerating 210, the police finally gave arresting them. Joan Andrews, the jailed pro-life activist, has become a centre of attention and has succeeded in bringing more people into the pro-life movement. Our membership has doubled and it is no longer an armchair battle.
Campbell, Rev. Ken, Milton, Ont., Baptist Minister, Pro-life activist.
Highs: The good hearing by the Supreme Court of Canada regarding my civil action against the Attorney General of Ontario, treating it as a serious, responsible action and not dismissing it off-handedly as they did in the Appeal Court of Canada assessed no costs for my litigation.
Lows: The lawlessness of the Ontario Attorney General who is protecting the illegal abortuaries in operation. The funding of pro-death solutions to crisis pregnancy, with no funding for life-affirming, loving alternatives.
1988: A hundred years ago the task was caring for the unwanted, after they had become outcasts. Today it’s caring for the unwanted before they’re discarded from the womb that has to be done. And it’s being done.
Cannon, Alfred, Charlottetown, P.E.I., Director, Campaign Life Coalition.
Highs: The abolishing of all abortion in P.E.I. by means of a two thirds majority of the Prince County Hospital Board. Also, Premier Joe Ghiz is pro-life and rebuffed Morgentaler’s efforts to open an abortuary here.
Lows: The Dr. Mitges’ Motion being lost.
1988: Delighted that Coalition for Life and Campaign Life amalgamated to make a strong pro-life activist movement.
Carroll, John, Thunder Bay, Ont., Pro-life activist.
Highs: The unification of Campaign Life and Coalition for Life. David Packer and Jim Demers- both very inspiring-and the whole new activism.
Lows: The sell-out by Catholic voters in Ontario who returned Peterson to Government; the bishops’ lack of action on the Mitges’ Motion; the Powell Report being accepted by Ontario.
1988: Ontarians are facing a real battle to try to wake up apathetic pro-lifers.
Caswell, Gay, Saskatoon, Sask., President, Victorious Women.
Highs: Abortions in Saskatchewan have dropped from 1600 to 1100 this year.
Lows: That Joe Borowski’s appeal to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal in April went against him.
1988: What bodes well for the future is the Evangelicals coming on stream and getting actively involved in the pro-life movement.
Chartrand, Reggie, Montreal, Que., Pro-Life activist.
Highs: We laid three criminal charges against Morgentaler. This year, and we have a girl ready to testify that she had an abortion by Morgentaler.
Lows: One of our best court cases was thwarted by a pro-abortion feminist judge.
1988: We are confident that after three years of trying we are going to convict “Godfather” Morgentaler of performing illegal abortions in Quebec. Action Quebec, a newly formed pro-life provincial political party is planning to run 12 candidates in the next provincial election.
Colleton, Fr. Ted, Toronto, Ont., Columnist, speaker.
Highs: The highest point in the pro-life movement in 1987 was the heroic stand of Constable Packer in refusing to guard the Harbord abortuary.
Lows: The lowest was the failure of the Canadian Catholic Bishops Conference to support the Mitges’ Motion.
1988: I do not see to much light at the far end of the tunnel. But I am inspired by the dedication of so many people of all ages who are prepared to take a stand in defence of the sanctity of human life. In the words of Mother Teresa, “God does not ask us to succeed. He does ask us to be faithful.”
Demers, Jim, Nelson, B.C., Pro-life activist.
Highs: The growth of the pro-life forces, in spite of the apathy and hostility of others.
Lows: The federal-provincial abortion “volleyball” as to who is responsible and in what areas; and the abysmal failure of the Mulroney Conservative Government to help the pro-life cause.
1988: Pro-life people will further solidify their positions and take a stronger stance against abortion. We’ll be like a snowball rolling down a mountain if we fail to stand firmly against the pro-abortion forces.
Desilets, Anna, Winnipeg, Men., Executives Director Alliance for Life.
High: Certainly the high was the union of Campaign Life and Coalition and the excellent cooperation between this new group and alliance on the Mitges’ Motion and Respect Life Week, the joint annual conference:
Lows: Very few new groups have been formed in the past year. Apathy across the country.
1988: I expect continued growth in the pro-life movement. Development of government clinics in Ontario will stimulate pro-life efforts everywhere. The TV Telethon special help greatly.
De Valk, Fr. Alphonse, Toronto, Ont., Historian.
Highs: In the recent provincial election 48 000 voters in 36 Ontario ridings realized that they could no longer vote for the three old-line parties. They knew that to be tolerant of abortion disqualifies persons and parties from public office.
Lows: The continued attack on families by the introduction of the wrong kind of sex and AIDS education in public and Catholic schools.
1988: Now that witchcraft has been recognized as a true religion by a Toronto arbitration board, nothing will astound. But pagan darkness shall not be victorious.
Dieleman, Joanne, Willowdale, Ont., Pro-life counselor and activist.
Highs: The personal satisfaction that I and the other counselors get when we talk a girl or a couple out of having an abortion.
Lows: When I saw a friend of mine—a young girl—whom I thought was coming to join us to do counseling, enter Morgentaler’s abortuary to have an abortion. She ignored my pleas.
1988: I feel that God is blessing us more and more in all counseling work at the abortuary. It is not important how many or few of us are there; what is important is that God blesses the ones who are there.
Dodds, Paul, Toronto, Ont., Legal Counsel for Campaign Life Coalition.
Highs: During the Ontario provincial election, Premier David Peterson stepped onto a Toronto subway car and found himself surrounded by 15 pro-lifers carrying placards, objecting to his pro-abortion policies. What had been planned by the Liberals as a high-profile photo opportunity turned into a long, hot subway ride all the way downtown.
Lows: Discovering that the Toronto policemen, who guard the Morgentaler abortuary, often park their squad cars on his property. When they do so, the abortuary’s private guard orders pro-lifers away from the police car so that they cannot even speak to the police on duty. And they dare to say the police aren’t there to guard the abortuary!
1988: The great hope is the new-found willingness of pro-lifers to make use of aborted baby pictures. The image of the broken baby is the most powerful image and the most persuasive argument that we have.
Eldridge, Peter, Yarmouth, N.S., Provincial Chairman, Nova Scotians for Life.
Highs: That Joe Borowski was given leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Lows: The loss of the Mitges’ Motion and the Canadian Catholic Council of Bishops lack of strong backing.
1988: A bishop from the CCCB to serve on Campaign Life Coalition board would be very desirable. We also have a lawyer, very competent and pro-life, who for 50 dollars for paper work, is making a full-fledged submission to the Canadian Supreme Court on behalf of Joe Borowski from Nova Scotia. All provinces should do the same and it might sway the court.
Foley, Frank, Ottawa, Ont., Director, Campaign Life Coalition, Ottawa office.
Highs: Recent polls in Quebec indicates that 90 per cent of the people interviewed in rural areas are pro-life. And the Christian Heritage Party coming on the federal scene sounds great.
Lows: The failure of the Supreme Court of Canada to rule to promptly on the Morgentaler case allowing the killing to go on. The interference by the Prime Minister preventing a free vote t o provide rights for the unborn under the Charter.
Forsyth, Cecilia, Saskatoon, Sask., President, Saskatoon Pro-Life.
Highs: The planning of a giant telethon to take place next spring, to raise the visibility of the pro-life movement; the Mitges’ motion gave us a central focus and achieved a lot of good. Abortions in Saskatchewan declined while the pro-life movement grew. Proof that extra-billing encouraged Saskatchewan doctors to do abortions.
Lows: Premier Devine has not lived up to pro-life expectations.
Gilmore, George, Newcastle, N.B., President New Brunswick Alliance for Life.
Highs: The recent N.B. provincial election in which 20 of 58 MPPs elected publicly identified themselves as pro-life, including four of the five women elected and seven cabinet ministers. The Anglican Church in N.B. came out publicly and solidly for pro-life. Over 75 Christian churches (10 per cent of all the churches), observed Sanctity of Life Sunday.
Lows: Continued federal government funding of proabortion groups. The bishops not supporting the Mitges’ motion.
1988: A continued increase in support from all churches throughout the province for the pro-life movement.
Glessner, Tom, Seattle, Wash., U.S.A., Executive Director, Christian Action Council.
Highs: The strong possibility that Judge Anthony Kennedy will be nominated to the United States Supreme Court. A court ruling in Illinois that went to the Supreme Court resulting in a deadlock vote 4:4 with the Supreme Court ruling that it was not necessary for a juvenile seeking an abortion (under 18) to submit to a 24 hour waiting period. However it upheld the right that parents of a juvenile seeking an abortion should be told.
Lows: The failure of Judge Bork to be nominated to the Supreme Court. The Illinois that went to the Supreme Court resulting in a deadlock vote 4:4 with the Supreme Court ruling in Illinois that it was not necessary for a juvenile seeking an abortion (under 18) to submit to a 24-hour waiting period. However, it upheld the right that parents of a juvenile seeking an abortion should be told.
Lows: The failure of Judge Bork to be nominated to the Supreme Court. The Illinois 24 hour case referred to.
1988 This is the most crucial year in pro-life history. One is the appointment of a Supreme Court judge who is pro-life. This is also the presidential year; and we will choose a path we will be marching along for the next four years.
Green, Betty, Vancouver, B.C., Executive Director, Vancouver Right to Life
Highs: The meeting in January 1987 with Premier Vander Zalm and his strong support, along with that of his Minister of Health, for the pro-life cause. Six thousand people involved in the Mother’s Day March, including lots of young people. Jim Demers going to jail for destroying abortion equipment; it helped motivate people.
Lows: That Rev. Bernice Gerard and myself are being sued for telling the truth on a phone-in radio talk show about a bungled abortion; and that the pro-life movement is being largely ignored by the media.
1988: The Pro-Life B.C. Conference on May 6-7-9 at the Sheraton Plaza 500 entitled: “The Turning Point,” featuring Dr. Bernard Nathanson and Dr. Pat Derr, a bioethics authority.
Henderson, Larry, Toronto, Ont., Contributing editor, Challenge Magazine (Winnipeg).
Highs: That Canadians are awake now and know they are under siege by moral anarchists.
Lows: (see 1988)
1988: I see many victories for the anti-moral forces in the coming year. The federal anti-pornography bill (C-54) will be killed. Abortion clinics will proliferate. Sex education (of the worst kind) will go ahead in our schools. But we should remember that it’s our Dunkirk and that we won after Dunkirk.
Hierlihy, Sue, Ottawa, Ont., Liaison Officer, Alliance for Life.
Highs: The unity development in 1987 with the amalgamation of Campaign Life and Coalition for Life. The Mitges’ motion which demonstrated effective lobbying by pro-lifers across Canada was a further sign of unity and spirit.
1988: I see more challenges ahead and the need for more unity and more strength.
Hilsden, Rev. Hudson, Toronto, Ont., Chairman of Social Action, Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.
Highs: The Symposium on Human Life in Toronto recently that brought together many people for high-level discussions on abortion, adoption and many related issues.
Lows: The Powell Report, which is a bold, brazen, boastfully conceived attempt to set up abortion clinics all across Ontario in complete violation of Section 251 of the Criminal Code, passed in 1969, which declares abortion illegal, except if the life or health of the mother is at risk.
1988: The fact Vernon B.C. has a pro-life hospital board that adheres to Section 251 of the Criminal Code; that fewer doctors and fewer hospitals are willing to do abortions.
Hughes, Jim. Toronto, Ont., President, Campaign Life Coalition Canada.
Highs: The Mitges’ Motion; Ann and David Packer; constant support from grassroots pro-lifers; and the heroes at the Morgentaler abortuary who counsel or picket. The merger of Campaign Life and Coalition for Life; and a new sense of unity in the pro-life movement in Canada. The tenacity of the pro-lifers especially the Physicians for Life who opposed the opening of the Caplan killing centre in Peterborough, Ont.
Lows: The number of people who call themselves pro-life while continuing to vote for candidates who are not pro-life. The implementation of the Marion Powell Report. Nationally, the deaths of Ed Newell, (past president of Alliance for Life), and John Deans (from the Ontario office of Campaign Life Coalition) were a great loss.
1988: The emergence of a real spirit of pro-life activism. We will have to develop new strategies to heat up lukewarm pro-lifers to prevent the killing of unborn babies.
Jalsevac, Steve, Scarborough, Ont., Director Campaign Life Coalition.
Highs: Babies saved by pro-lifers in front of the Morgentaler abortuary in Toronto. An increase in spirituality and the realization of our need for God in the pro-life movement. Joe Scheidler’s sensational heart-warming talk about the defeats and the victories in the pro-life movement in the U.S.
Lows: Lack of leadership from our religious leaders.
1988: The development of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada and the Family Coalition Party in Ontario. I feel these two moves will give us real hope for the future.
Lavoie-Gordon, Lucille, Montreal, Que., President, Coalition pour la Vie, and a Vice-president of Campaign Life Coalition.
Highs: We were able to obtain 120, 676 signatures in Quebec urging the provincial government to close the Morgentaler abortuary.
Lows: The judgement against Father Markley, the Benedictine monk who as sentenced to five years in jail for smashing suction equipment in Birmingham, Alabama.
Lenihan, Bill, Calgary, Alta., Director Campaign Life Coalition.
Highs: Sixty-one votes in the federal parliament for what I consider the abolition of abortion by those who supported the Mitges’ Motion.
Lows: The loss of the Mitges’ Motion because of the Mulroney cabinet discipline and the actions of the CCCB.
1988: I think the pro-life outlook is cloudy and we’ve got to develop some shirt-term strategy to deal with the problem of hostile government attitudes.
Malley, Mike, Calgary, Alta., President, Campaign Life, Calgary.
Highs: Planned Parenthood sued us for using the name “Calgary Family Planning Centre” and lost. Family planning, they learned, doesn’t have to be equated with abortion. At our centre, 150 women and girls were counseled and 60 per cent of them changed their minds about having an abortion.
Lows: The Powell Report being implemented in Ontario and the spreading into hospitals of free-standing abortion clinics.
1988: We’re looking forward to fighting free-standing Planned Parenthood when they try to get funding from our city council or the province. We also expect to win a libel suit against the Calgary Herald for calling us “rabid fanatics beyond the reach of reason.”
Marx, Fr. Paul, Gaithersburg, Md., U.S.A., International pro-life advocate, Human Life International.
Highs: Tanzania stopped all abortions. This was after a Moslem takeover the previous year.
Lows: More countries are legalizing abortion. Three-quarters of mankind-where historic protection of the unborn has been given- has now made abortion legal. I believe the whole of mankind will follow.
1988: We’re looking forward to fighting Planned Parenthood when they try to get funding from our city council or the province. We also expect to win a libel suit against the Calgary Herald for calling us “rabid fanatics beyond the reach of reason.”
McArthur, Laura, Toronto, Ont., President, Right to Life, Toronto.
Highs: Many young people have a more positive feeling about the pro-life movement. David Packer’s courageous stand in refusing to guard the Morgentaler abortuary.
Lows: The Ontario government’s spending on abortion clinics has got to e a new low, especially when there was no enthusiasm for it by the hospitals which are being bribed by government funding.
1988: I am hopeful that the Supreme Court of Canada will shortly uphold the present law on abortions, and it will bring about one good thing that a woman has no automatic right to one. Should this happen, I predict that Ian Scott, the attorney general of Ontario, will go through the motions of a court case against Morgentaler and then abandon it.
McCash, Dan, Scarborough, Ont., Pro-life counselor and activist.
Highs: Seeing a one day old baby in the hospital whose mother I had counseled at Morgentaler’s abortuary and talked out of having an abortion. The baby is fine today and the mother is taking good care of the baby.
Lows: The perversity of our justice system when outright murder is condoned and picketers are convicted of harassment.
1988: I’m looking forward to the closing of Morgentaler and Scott abortuaries and every other abortion clinic in Canada.
McLuhan, Sabina, Toronto, Ont., Editor, The Interim
Highs: P.C. David Packer’s courageous stands in refusing to guard the Morgentaler abortuary. I admire him and his wife Anne, for placing their principles before their economic security.
Lows: The number of pro-lifers who voted Liberal in the last Ontario election, refusing to acknowledge that the Liberals are pro-abortion
1988: I’m going to predict that The Interim will continue to be attacked and accused a lack of compassion and for being prejudiced. Although it’s an uncomfortable position to be in, I confidently predict that we will continue to say what has to be said.
Merry, Dr. Colin, Winnipeg, Man., President of Physicians for Life, Canada.
Highs: We threw Morgentaler out of Manitoba. Because of a mysterious brown envelope that appeared on my desk, we were also able to stop dead a bill in the Manitoba legislature that would have forced all future medical students to do abortions or they wouldn’t be allowed into medical school in the province.
Lows: The apathetic attitude of doctors regarding abortion. We had only 12 doctors out of 4000 turn out for a C.M.A. convention recently. When I was in England in December they had arrested a young man for displaying two eight week old fetuses enclosed in see through plastic earrings. I also learned that no one is allowed into medicine in the U.K. unless they agree in advance to do abortions.
1988: I’m optimistic that several cases before the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the rights of the fetus will go in our favour.
Mitges, Dr. Gus, Member of Parliament (Grey Simcoe).
Highs: Our motion was introduced in the House of Commons in Ottawa and after an extensive debate, came up for a vote. Remember, there are only four or five private members bills debated every year and they are picked out of a hat from a couple of hundred. It was luck or the finger of God.
Lows: It was a great disappointment that the (Mitges) motion wasn’t passed. I had high expectations that it would be. Our Committee spent a lot of time talking to individual MPs on a one to one basis and we had every indication that they were going to support us- the majority. The letter from the (Canadian Conference of Catholic) Bishops allowed many of those, and the ones sitting on the fence, to believe that it was okay to oppose us. Many seized the opportunity to stay away from the vote in the Commons.
1988: We need more support from the medical profession. I’d like to congratulate the Toronto Sun for its fair coverage, and especially Claire Hoy. We need to get more of the media on our side. Some of the MPs who voted against my motion are feeling the wrath of their constituents. We’re going to have to keep on fighting. MP John Reimer and I will put pro-life private members’ bills in the “hopper” again and hope that one will be picked.
Nathanson, Dr. Bernard, New York, N.Y. U.S.A., Pro-life medical doctor and activist.
Highs: The increasing technology in the pro-life field in the area of ultra-sound has caused the level of debate to rise above that of just sermonizing and sloganeering. I don’t speak anywhere without mentioning Constable David Packer and Jim Demers and I admire their integrity and courage.
Lows: The disunity of the pro-life forces and the polarization of some units. I think that this has been caused by the social injustice of abortions going on for years with no victories. We need a “small” victory to galvanize and hearten our supporters. Pro-lifers are bottled-up with no relief in sight. I hope that this situation doesn’t lead to violence.
Owen, Jacqueline, Saskatoon, Sask., Board Member, International Right to Life Association.
Highs: Two consecutive pro-life days were held for the first time in all the churches in the Saskatoon R.C. diocese, dealing with abortion, euthanasia and other areas of moral concern and they were well attended. Majority of Saskatchewan MPs voted for the Mitges’ Motion. The provincial government’s grant to Christian adoption services.
Lows: None, really except that it was sad to see Ray Hnatyshyn, the federal Minister of Health, vote against the Mitges’ Motion.
1988: While observer status has been obtained at the United Nations Economic and Social Council and tremendous things are being achieved for the pro-life forces on the international scene, we face terrific opposition.
Packer, David, Toronto, Ont., Police Constable.
Highs: Edified by meeting Father Ted Colleton and seeing how much good he has been doing. Learning that Elinor Caplan, the new Minister of Health in Ontario, was frightened by pro-lifers and forced into secrecy when it came to setting up the abortion clinics in various hospitals.
Lows: Realizing how few nuns and priests are standing up for their sworn duties to oppose abortion.
1988: I would like to see Cardinal Carter arrested at the Morgentaler abortuary. (I would symbolically like to do it!) I would also like to see a thousand priests downtown at the Morgentaler abortuary.
Pennell, Don, Burlington, Ont., Leader, Family Coalition Party of Ontario.
Highs: The Family Coalition Party, the pro-life, pro family part, was chartered June 10 and with 30 days was thrust into an election campaign. FCP fielded 36 candidates, received 48 100 votes and became the fourth party and only viable alternative to the pro-abortion parties. The results can be seen in the proliferation of Caplan Killing Centres.
1988: Double FCP riding associations to 72 by the fall.
Powell, Fr. John, Chicago, Ill., U.S.A., Author, The Silent Holocaust, Lecturer.
Highs: More and more people are coming to realize that an abortion is the taking of a human life. I believe God raised up Dr. Bernard Nathanson to conduct a crusade to save the lives of the unborn. Post-abortion syndrome is getting to be recognized as a major problem.
Lows: A stupid TV show on “positive euthanasia,” hosted by Peter Jennings, showing a doctor talking to an elderly woman about a tranquilizer and a lethal dose, which she agreed to, and then showing him at church the next day in Holland.
1988: We have to do something about the abortion tragedy ourselves. The Kingdom of God marches at the pace of our feet.
Prestwich, Winifride, Toronto, Ont., Contributing Editor, The Interim.
Highs: The brightest moments have come from efforts of the pro-life doctors in Peterborough. They have spearheaded a public campaign against Elinor Caplan’s efforts in Ontario to establish a new abortion “clinic” in the town. Also, grassroots pro-lifers challenge the pro-abortion Liberal government and set all Ontario an example to follow.
Lows: The darkest moments of 1987 were caused by the letter from the Canadian Conference of Catholics Bishops (CCCB), which nullified the efforts of pro-lifers across the country to pass the Mitges’ Motion. We expect knives from pro-abortionists, but we are unprotected against blows from our friends and allies.
1988: Nothing too promising.
Purcell, Margaret, Yorkton, Sask., Director, Campaign Life Coalition.
Highs: The reunification of Campaign Life and Coalition for Life which has made a strong voice for the pro-life movement.
Lows: Failure or lack of support from the CCCB, or should I say “betrayal”?
1988: We’re hoping to revitalize individual chapters of Campaign Life Coalition and make for a strong, unified, pro-life posture in the political area with no compromises.
Scheidler, Joe, Chicago, Ill., U.S.A., Director, Pro-Life Action League.
Highs: We have abortionists coming into the pro-life fold. Five former abortionists have been telling us how rotten it was doing abortions. We have been able to close a dozen or so abortuaries. The AIDS scare has slackened off the abortions. We also had 600 little babies-all cut to pieces- displayed in Chicago before a live audience and on national TC, serving to shock people and get them thinking. Father Ed Markley’s release from prison after serving only one year of his sentence for “attacking” an abortuary. Constable David Packer for taking his strong position on pro-life. Joan Andrews in jail for her pro-life activities. We should never forget her contribution.
Lows: That there are 5000 babies killed everyday in the U.S.-2400 boys and 2600 girls (because by a quirk of nature there are more girls than boys). One out of three babies are killed. This offends God Grievously. He will punish us for it.
1988: We have to fight the utilitarian ethic which treats a baby as if it were a “commodity.” Even a baby without a brain has a right to live. We have a lot people with a very little brains and they are still alive. “Eclipse of Reasons” and Dr. Bernard Nathanson are going to carry on doing a great work. We’re going to launch more federal lawsuits against abortions for malpractice.
Scime, Lynne, Hamilton, Ont., President, R.E.A.L. Women of Canada.
Highs: The Christian Heritage Party, a party based on Biblical principles, coming on the scene. And the flexing of their political muscles was like the awakening of a sleeping giant.
Lows: The sweep of the Ontario Liberal government and the implementation (after being announced by the former Minister of Health, Murray Elston) of the Powell Report with the setting up of Caplan abortion clinics.
1988: I predict that government day care will be a disaster. I wish the government would smarten up as to the lack of accountability and the careers built around their spending in the day care area.
Smith, Betty, Ottawa, Ont., Executive Director, Action Life, Ottawa.
Highs: Getting more youth involved in the pro-life movement, including training them to take on speaking engagements in the Ottawa area.
Lows: Mitges’ Motion being lost-the bishops knocking the wind out of our sails. The Powell Report being implemented and the knowledge that human life being killed doesn’t affect many youth as much as it once did. One girl I knew had an abortion even after seeing the Eclipse of Reason.
1988: Nurses for Life growing rapidly and Action Life developing a much wider base in the pro-life movement and their educational programs have much more effect.
Smith, Chuck, Fort McMurray, Alta., President, Alberta Alliance for Life.
Highs: The working together of various educational and political pro-life groups. There is a great need for more of this.
Lows: The general apathy in Canada regarding the pro-life movement.
1988: I see a groundswell beginning to surface for the pro-life movement. The pro-life telethon will help. This year we’ve got to expose the adverse effects of the quick fix abortions. We’ve got to make people realize the evil that they are doing.
Soenen, Pat, Winnipeg, Man., President, Manitoba League for Life.
Highs: The fact that young people are turning against abortion. Their positive response to the pro-life message is our hope for the future.
Lows: We’re not getting any Morgentaler abortuaries but it’s a “trade-off” because one hospital, Health Services Centre in Winnipeg has doubled the size and capacity and also doubled the number of abortions performed this year. It now performs 90 per cent of all abortions in Manitoba.
1988: Abortions among high school students have dropped and will continue to drop because many students are beginning to recognize abortion for what it is-the killing of unborn babies.
Stilwell, Bill, Surrey, B.C., President, Christian Heritage Party.
Highs: I am delighted with the formation of the Christian Heritage Party and feel that it is the only voice in the federal arena for pro-life people.
Lows: The charges against P.C. David Packer for refusing to “guard” an illegal abortuary in Toronto.
1988: I see a lot of tough work ahead for the FCP of Ontario and the Christian Heritage Party in organizing for future elections and the need to gain credibility and acceptance from Canadian voters.
Stillwell, Heather, Surrey, B.C. President, Alliance for Life Canada.
Highs: The enthusiasm evidenced for the Alliance for Life telethon and the fact that we got the Mitges’ Motion on the floor of the House of Commons to be debated.
Lows: Jake Epp, who we had counted for strong support for the Mitges’ Motion, getting up and leaving the House before the vote.
1988: The Alliance for Life telethon coming in the spring and the coming together and maturing of various pro-life movements because civilization as we knew it, is gone.
Summerhill, Louise, Toronto, Ont., Foundress of “Birthright.”
Highs: The continued growth of the Birthright movement in Canada. The increasing number of girls seeking the birth option instead of abortion. A 38 year old lesbian mother who I was able to personally prevail on not to have an abortion and to leave her lover.
Lows: Concerns about the claims of some pro-lifers that Birthright is only a service for those who have made up their minds to have the baby. Many callers wrongfully interpret the name “Birthright” as the “right” to have an abortion! The crying need for part-time volunteers to help at Birthright. The acceptance among Catholics of abortion being okay under some circumstances.
1988: The lessening of stigma of girls who have made up their minds to have their babies. A need for more love and understanding in that area.
Vanwoudenberg, Ed, Surrey, B.C., Leader Christian Heritage Party.
Highs: The recent Christian Heritage Party convention in Hamilton, Ontario, 534 delegates attending. Biblical principles entrenched in our Constitution; grassroots involvement by members out of conviction, with no support from big corporations, big unions or a big church.
Lows: I’d rather not think of one.
1988: We hope to get more media attention. There is a crying need for a voice for politicians with convictions. Many candidates will find in the Christian Heritage Party the opportunity to express these aspirations.
Vaughan, Rev. Fred, Toronto, Ont., Minister, Beulah Baptist Church, Pro-life activist.
Highs: The remarkable success that the FCP Party enjoyed in its first outing. The very inspiring talk given by Joe Scheidler, telling how he and his supporters have closed down numerous abortuaries in the USA.
Lows: Opening up another abortuary (Scott) in Toronto, and the aggressiveness of the Peterson government after their re-election, revealing their intentions to implement quickly the recommendations of the Powell Report.
1988: Hoping in the Lord that Judge Anthony Kennedy will be confirmed as a USA Supreme Court Justice because it is believed he is pro-life. And that the new court there will adopt a pro-life stance and lead Canada out of the darkness in this post-Christian era.
Walley, Dr. Robert, St. John’s Nfld. Physicians for Life.
Highs: The knowledge that there is still a tremendous number of pro-life people in Newfoundland.
Lows: A lack of education of doctors and nurses regarding Catholic principles and teaching about abortion. It demonstrates a need for a top quality international research centre to correct this problem.
1988: I see the problem to put into practice the Vatican statement on ethics on abortion, euthanasia and other highly technical areas.
Willke, Dr. Jack, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A., President National Right to Life (U.S.A.) and President, International Right to Life.
Highs: The continuing growth of the prolife movement in the U.S. The vacancy on the Supreme Court that has provided the opportunity to put a more pro-life judge on the court in the person of Judge Anthony Kennedy. President Reagan announced Title 10, which forbids groups obtaining government funding from using the funds for abortion. No funding for Planned Parenthood because of their abortion referral operations. President Reagan cut off funding for all abortions done overseas by a United Nations agency. One pro-life government official who was fired by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Bowen (who claims to be pro-life) was speedily replaced in this powerful government position by another pro-life person.
Lows: The Bork defeat.
1988: Everything that we have fought for in the pro-life movement will come to a head in this crucial presidential election year. All seven Democratic presidential candidates are pro abortion; all Republican candidates, except Haig, are pro-life. We test all presidential candidates by asking them whether they will reverse Roe v. Wade. All pro-life presidential candidates have promised to do so. If Roe v. Wade is reversed, it will no longer be enshrined in the Constitution that a woman has a right to an abortion. Each state then would have the legislative right to allow abortions or not. Fifty per cent of the state are pro-life now.
Witt, Shirley, Renfrew, Ont., Director, Campaign Life Coalition.
Highs: The formation of the Family Coalition Party and its remarkable initial success; the formation of the Christian Heritage Party and its growth.
Lows: The Mitges’ motion being defeated the FCP being practically ignored y the secular media and the fact that many more abortuaries are being planned in Ontario.
1988: We’re hoping that the Christian Heritage Party will get their message out to the public and that more people would write letters to politicians and newspapers and that the Alliance for Life Telethon will be a huge success.