Peter Baklinski

Peterborough pro-life group hasn’t missed Saturday protest in 25 years

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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PETERBOROUGH, Ontario, October 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Since its inception in 1980, Peterborough Pro-Life has never swerved from what it considers its primary duty: publicly witnessing to the dignity and sanctity of a baby’s human life inside its mother’s womb. Last Wednesday, LifeSiteNews sat down with Paul Morgan and Ali van der Vegt, who recounted what the group had accomplished in 31 years of existence.

“Peterborough Pro-Life (PPL) association was formed to fight abortion and to foster respect for the dignity and sanctity of every human life, from conception to natural death, but especially the pre-born baby,” said Morgan, former president of PPL.

“It is not that we are happy that our group has been around this long,” added 78-year-old Mrs. van der Vegt, a grandmother and a long-serving member of the group.  “We wish abortion had stopped long ago and that our group was no longer needed.”

In a newsletter dated February 1998, Morgan explained to those who had recently joined the PPL group what was expected of them.

“You joined because you believe that the killing of babies, yet-to-be-born, is wrong and should not be permitted under any circumstances,” he said. “Being Pro-Life means acting, not just believing, and that action has to be persistent and constant.”

“But if you DO ACT, if you GET INVOLVED, then and only then, can you say ‘I’m a Pro-Lifer.’”

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The group has a long history of pro-life political involvement and pro-life events.

The group organized a candle-lit vigil in 1986 attended by 2000 people to protest the opening of a new Health Centre to provide abortions.

“They told us at the time that the new centre was for women’s health, but we knew that ‘health’ was really about bringing more abortion,” said Mrs. van der Vegt.

Other PPL events included participating in Canada’s first Operation Rescue effort with Joan Andrews held in Toronto in October 1988. Some of PPL’s members were arrested by police and detained in prison. Morgan, one of the ones arrested, remembers clearly the events that unfolded that day.

“The philosophy of Operation Rescue was that if we blocked the entrance ways to the abortuary with bodies—just saturated it with bodies—then the pregnant mothers and doctors couldn’t get through. Towards the end of the day, the police came with their paddy wagons and 75 of us were arrested. The clinic remained closed for the day.”

To get the pro-life message out to their hometown community, the PPL sponsored information campaigns, including a 1994 campaign where 40,000 copies of a pro-life newspaper were distributed to Peterborough homes.

The PPL group is best known for its weekly Saturday morning silent prayer vigils at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, where they witness to the life of the unborn child with signs that read: “Abortion Kills Babies.”

With their stalwart dedication to the pro-life cause, PPL has never missed a Saturday at the Peterborough hospital in the past 25 years, ever since the group received governmental recognition as a corporation in 1986.

“There were some days when we were so cold, you couldn’t talk to one another, your face was frozen,” said Morgan, “We have been there in ‘fair or foul’ weather.”

After so many years of hard work, the group experiences frustration that babies are still killed in their hometown.

“They are killing life in that hospital which is supposed to be for health, and it’s not for health,” said Mrs. van der Vegt.

“The local doctor does abortions on Thursdays, and two other doctors take turns and they come at the end of the month on Saturdays,” she added.

“There are anywhere between 300 to 500 babies killed each year at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre,” said Morgan, explaining how they once received help from their local conservative MP Dean Del Mastro in obtaining information about the number of abortions performed, information that the hospital was at first unwilling to hand over.

While PPL does not know how many babies they have saved by their public witnessing, they realize that the battle they are fighting has spiritual ramifications.

“It’s spiritual warfare,” said Mrs. van der Vegt.

“Sometimes we have to stop, take a deep breath and say, ‘Wow, we’ve done all this over the years, and obviously our timing is not commensurate with God’s timing.’ So, all we can do from here-on-in is do what we can—in other words—fight the battle,” said Morgan.

In fighting what appears, for the time being, to be a losing battle, the group finds consolation that from God’s perspective, it is the “fighting of the battle that counts…not the winning or the losing.”

“God says as much to us: ‘I want you to fight the battle, I don’t necessarily expect you to win. In my good time, things will all ‘drop into place’ and you will understand,’” said Morgan.

As these veterans for the Pro-Life cause begin to show signs of weariness from their long struggle with the culture of death, they are glad and heartened to see young people starting to take up the pro-life banner and continue the fight for the right-to-life of pre-born babies.

“I have hope in the young people. Everywhere you go, there are young people taking over [the pro-life movement]. They are really enthusiastic about it and well educated,” said van der Vegt.

Morgan agrees. “Our greatest hope on the horizon is young people.”

“We’ve done our bit, we’ve done what we can and we’re getting to the point now where nobody really listens to us: we’re the old fogeys, the old brigade. But the young people coming in—and all the youngsters that we got coming to the [Ottawa] March for Life—these will make the changes; they will ‘get it done’ because they are the ones who have the power.”

To become a member of Peterborough Pro-Life or to send a word of congratulations, please contact:

Ali van der Vegt
Ph: (705) 745-3820
E-mail: ali.vandervegt@yahoo.ca

Join the Peterborough Pro-Life Silent Prayer Vigil every Saturday, 10AM to 11AM.
Peterborough Regional Health Centre
1 Hospital Dr, Peterborough, ON

 

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A protester rallies against Hobby Lobby, protesting against the Supreme Court decision Dan Holm/Shutterstock
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

DNC chairwoman exhorts constituents to boycott local Hobby Lobby store

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

The Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision was nearly two months ago, but the issue as hot as ever, as was demonstrated yesterday when Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz, D-FL, urged constituents to boycott a Hobby Lobby store in her district.

In a press conference one lot away from the Hobby Lobby location in Davie, which opened in April, Wasserman-Schultz said that she wanted "people to know that this Hobby Lobby is here and they should vote with their purses and their pocketbooks, and women should not shop here."

"If you didn’t know this Hobby Lobby was here before, know it now and don’t shop here. They don’t deserve women’s business because they are the ones that all across the country have made it harder for women to get access to birth control,” she said.

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Wasserman-Schultz said that Hobby Lobby's corporate ownership "doesn’t support its employees" and "wants to be able to get in the personal business of their employees and make health care decisions and replace their own values, replace their employees’ health care decisions, with their values…."

She also criticized the Supreme Court's late June decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, which had sued the federal government over the Obama administration's HHS Mandate.

The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, say it violates their conscience to pay for coverage for the four abortifacients and potential abortifacients that the mandate required them to cover.

"The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case was not only disappointing, it was dangerous," said the Democrat. "No boss should have the right to dictate and employee’s health decisions because [they] don’t belong in the bedrooms, doctor’s offices or pharmacies of their employees.

"A woman and her doctor know what’s best for their body. Not an insurance company. Not a politician. And certainly not a manager at a Hobby Lobby."

The Supreme Court's decision allowed closely held corporations to not fund coverage of contraception or abortion drugs and devices.

Wasserman-Schultz's office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Through a spokesperson, the Green family declined to comment about the Congresswoman's statements. 

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Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

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America is rejecting abortion because pro-lifers are having more children: study

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

According to a new Northwestern University study, American attitudes about abortion are trending more conservatively than other contentious social issues, a phenomenon the authors credit to the simple fact that pro-lifers have more kids.

“We find evidence that the abortion attitudes have lagged behind a liberalizing trend of other correlated attitudes,” the authors wrote. Using GSS data collected between 1977 and 2010, “We test[ed] the hypothesis that the comparatively high fertility of pro-life individuals has led to a more pro-life population.”

The authors wrote: “Support for abortion rights has turned flat after a period of increase following Roe v. Wade, and in recent years there are even indications of a reversal toward more restrictive attitudes. This U-turn is evinced particularly among younger cohorts, and is happening despite liberalizing trends in several ostensibly related issue domains.”

The authors speculated that the reason for the increase in pro-life attitudes among young people is that their parents had more children than their pro-abortion counterparts. When they examined the data, they found that pro-life individuals had, on average, 27 percent more children than those who considered themselves “pro-choice.”

Not only that, but pro-life parents appear to be much more likely to pass their views on to their children. The researchers found that the younger generation’s pro-life shift was too strong to be blamed solely on differences in fertility – meaning children of pro-abortion parents are rejecting their parents’ views.

“[E]ither pro-life beliefs are always more faithfully transmitted than pro-choice ones; or, there has been a cultural shift towards more pro-life beliefs that is being reflected in the parent-child correlations,” the authors wrote.

The study concluded that if it wasn’t for the higher fertility rate among pro-life people, the nation as a whole would favor abortion by about five percentage points more than it does currently – and researchers predict the pro-life trend will continue.

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“Taken together, these findings suggest that fertility has had at least some part in leading the population in a more pro-life direction over time,” the authors wrote. “Further investigation into this pattern indicates that not only are abortion attitudes associated with fertility, but in proportional terms—which is what matters for cultural change—the gap is widening.”

“Fertility has declined for both pro-choice and pro-life groups over the past 30 years, but fertility has declined far less markedly for pro-life individuals,” they added. “Whereas pro-[life] individuals born before 1940 were only having about 1.2 children per one child born to a pro-choice parent, this ratio has grown to over 1.5 for those born in the mid to late 1970s. This pattern suggests that future cohorts may place an even stronger demographic drag on the liberalization of abortion attitudes.”

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A declaration that PP is an 'enemy of the Church' would mean that Catholics who work with, advocate for, or support Planned Parenthood, incur automatic excommunication. American Life League
Lisa Bourne

New campaign asks Pope Francis to declare Planned Parenthood an ‘enemy of the Church’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

The Catholic pro-life organization American Life League (ALL) is launching a campaign calling for the Catholic Church to declare Planned Parenthood an “enemy of the Church.”

Using prayer and education, ALL’s Defend the Family campaign seeks to expose the nation’s largest abortion provider for contribution to the destruction of human lives, as well as the family. 

The campaign, said Jim Sedlack, vice-president of ALL, is quite simply “a way of calling attention to the fact that this is a very bad organization.”

“Planned Parenthood is attacking the family, either by killing preborn children or by robbing the souls of the older children,” he said. 

A declaration that PP is an “enemy of the Church” would mean that Catholics who work with, advocate for, or support Planned Parenthood, incur automatic excommunication.

Such a declaration would not be unprecedented. Popes in the past have identified and condemned organizations that posed a grave threat to the Church, most recently Pope Pius XII in 1949 with Communism and Pope Clement XII in 1738 with Freemasonry.

While specifics would depend on the wording of the Papal pronouncement, Sedlak told LifeSiteNews if the Holy Father makes the declaration there would be no mistaking its intent.

“When the pope makes the declaration it becomes crystal clear,” Sedlak said. “There’ll be no shades of gray, it’ll be black and white, it’ll be clear to the world.”

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'Now is the time'

There are still people who are not fully aware of the extent of the societal damage inflicted by Planned Parenthood, said Sedlak, including members of the Church hierarchy. He said it’s important to emphasize the truth of what the abortion giant does.

“That’s why we’re focusing on the enemy,” said Sedlak. “When people really stop and focus on Planned Parenthood, they realize it’s the enemy.”

ALL cites Planned Parenthood’s targeting of children to sexualize them as a major cause of the destruction of the family and a fundamental reason for the Defend the Family campaign.

“They really push for getting young people into lives of sexual sin,” Sedlak said. “Young people who aren’t pulled into sexual activity do not provide a cent of income to Planned Parenthood, but young people who are pulled in provide millions of dollars to the Planned Parenthood empire.”

ALL compiled a comprehensive report on Planned Parenthood titled, “The Vatican can help save souls from Planned Parenthood,” as part of the Defend the Family campaign.

“The document builds the case,” said Sedlak. “Why Planned Parenthood, why now is the time.”

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that for its part Planned Parenthood has always recognized that its greatest enemy is the Catholic Church, even working to have the Church lose its status at the UN.

“They fight anybody who wants to take sex away from the kids in any way possible,” Sedlak said. “That’s one reason why Planned Parenthood is the sex mafia.”

And when Sedlak uses the term “mafia,” he means it literally, pointing out that the Holy Father condemned the mafia in his June 21, 2014, homily in Calabria, Italy, denouncing its, “Adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”

“Planned Parenthood kills far more people than the mafia,” Sedlak said.

Also underscoring the need for the Vatican to act on declaring Planned Parenthood an enemy of the Church, is the convening of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family this October in Rome, which will lead into the general synod in 2015.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that these, along with the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, are events that ALL will rally around to raise awareness of the Defend the Family campaign.

Preliminary response to the campaign has been very positive, he said.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that the “Vatican can help save souls from Planned Parenthood” report was so well received upon initial presentation to Vatican officials, that ALL was asked to translate it into three more languages.

“The support we’ve gotten from talking to bishops has been overwhelming,” Sedlak said.

Prayer is priority #1

The Defend the Family campaign consists first and foremost of prayer, Sedlak told LifeSiteNews.

“Our approach is that we need prayer support,” he said. “The only way that we’re going to succeed is through prayer to the Blessed Mother; the only way it will succeed is if God wants it to succeed.”

Participants are asked to say regular prayers after Mass, to offer prayers for the pope and to initiate communication with local bishops about the dangers that Planned Parenthood poses to the faithful.

Sedlak also added that The Defend the Family campaign is for everyone, not just Catholics.

He said pro-life supporters of all faith traditions are invited to contact ALL for assistance in encouraging their religious denomination or church leader to declare Planned Parenthood an enemy.

In addition to prayers for the campaign, ALL is asking people to sign and submit ALL’s Declaration of Encouragement to the Holy Father, enroll in the Spiritual Bouquet for the Holy Father and to share ALL resources on Planned Parenthood.

Information, links and resources are available on the campaign website, defendthefamily.org.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that ALL is giving the success of the Defend the Family campaign up to God.

“This is all happening in God’s time, and so far he’s been blessing us mightily,” Sedlak said. “And we’re going to go wherever God takes us.”

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