Peter Baklinski

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

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
Image

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.’”

Join a Facebook page to end abortion here

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: [email protected]

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

 

FREE pro-life and pro-family news.

Stay up-to-date on the issues you care about the most. Subscribe today. 

Select Your Edition:


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

Advertisement
Featured Image
Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

, , ,

Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook