(LifeSiteNews) — Back in the 70s when I was little, the word ‘abortion’ was something on posters in the lobby of Toronto’s St. Lawrence parish, usually accompanied by a picture of two adult fingers holding a pair of tiny, perfectly formed feet. I knew abortion was wrong, but it was a vague kind of ‘wrong,’ like four-letter words, skipping homework and lying about chores being done.
That all changed in Grade 9. In 1984, Mr. Bissonette taught history and religion at St. Robert’s Catholic High School. One day he brought a slideshow into class. Assisted by two stunningly beautiful 10th grade girls (recall: I was 14 years old), we saw the kind of presentation that makes pro-abortion choicer’s scream, hyperventilate and stamp their feet like gender-studies majors at a Trump rally. It showed the brutal reality of abortion through not only the torn bodies of children, but the views of healthy children born sooner than many of the preborn abortion victims.
We later had the opportunity to demonstrate outside the Morgentaler abortuary, many taking advantage of the buses the school had provided. I didn’t even think to go, and when my parents saw my peers on TV they asked me why I hadn’t joined them. Why not? I answered myself. Abortion was wrong, and a number of cool grade twelve students were walking around with pro-life buttons on their ties. So why not? I ended up going on the next protest, and then to the next pro-life group meeting after school.
I was mildly surprised. I’d half expected only ‘church’ kids to be there, but instead found a true cross-section of the student body. There were athletes, drama kids, rockers, and regular folks. The lone adult in the room actually did little while Mary, the group’s Grade 12 president, ran the show and educated the newbies.
The meetings educated me, but St. Robert’s social justice presentations cemented my pro-life beliefs. Back in the 80s the term ‘social justice’ didn’t have the pejorative connotation it has today. Out of a dozen options, I chose the pro-life talk and marveled at how knowledgeable the young, female presenter was. She had ready answers for every question, relating to us as equals rather than a teacher or preacher.
By Grade 11 I’d become more serious about both my faith and activism. While at a dance at St. Joseph’s Morrow Park, I saw a poster for their pro-life group. Inquiries led to me and a few other St. Robert’s group members meeting with the St. Joe’s group to create an inter-school pro-life alliance. The meeting went well, the only casualty being my dignity when I had to ask where the boy’s bathroom was in the all-girls high-school.
UPDATE (8/6/22): We are heartbroken to tell you that Archie's life-support was switched off on Saturday 6 August.
We ask you to add your name to the prayerful message we are sending Archie's parents, Hollie and Paul, who are suffering the most devastating time of their lives.
Both the European Court of Human Rights and a UK High Court turned down respective applications by Archie's parents to halt the withdrawal of life-support and allow them to transfer their son to hospice care.
This cruel betrayal by the legal and medical establishment, who even denied Archie the right to travel abroad where treatment was being offered to him, represents another blow to the notion that human rights and parents' wishes really matter.
We can only hold Archie and the entire family in our prayers now.
Thank you for your support.
May God have mercy on them all.
Archie Battersbee (12) is on life-support in a UK hospital following a tragic accident, but doctors now want to end his treatment despite his distraught parents begging medics to let God decide when he dies.
Archie's heartbroken mother has submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that prevented the hospital turning off her son's life-support earlier today.
SIGN this urgent petition in support of Archie and his family - tell the ECHR to Let Archie Live.
Lawyers for the hospital last night told Archie's family that he cannot be moved to a hospice, and that if an application to the ECHR was not received by 9am on 3 August, life support would be withdrawn at 11am.
Thankfully the family's lawyers submitted the ECHR application, or Archie would now be dead.
Archie Battersbee's mother Hollie Dance tells Julia about the emotional challenges of trying to extend her son's life support care.— TalkTV (@TalkTV) August 3, 2022
"I'm putting my sons fight before myself and my emotions. I promised Archie I would fight until I can't anymore."@juliahb1 pic.twitter.com/HdRPaPbLAc
Archie’s mother Hollie Dance said: “We are very relieved (that Archie's machine was not turned off), we are having to battle every decision with the hospital. We now hope and pray that the ECHR will look favorably on the application."
"We will not give up on Archie until the end. Heartbreakingly, the hospital Trust have told us that we cannot move Archie to a hospice....This is cruel and we are absolutely appalled,” she added.
The family are also receiving offers from doctors abroad to treat Archie, but they are not allowed to transfer their son from the hospital.
‘If this country can’t treat him where is the harm in allowing him to go to another country?— GB News (@GBNEWS) August 3, 2022
Mother of Archie Battersbee, Hollie Dance, says the family have filed an application to the European Court of Human Rights in a bid to postpone the withdrawal of his life support. pic.twitter.com/oc7SrX6GGh
On Tuesday government lawyers also convinced the UK's Supreme Court to dismiss the interim measures injunction issued by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), which said Archie’s treatment should not be removed.
Archie's life is on the line - he needs us to raise the alarm throughout the world today.
SIGN AND SHARE this urgent petition today.
It is unspeakably cruel to drag Archie's mother through the courts when her son is in such a devastating condition - she should be allowed to spend this precious time with him, not having to fight tooth and nail to prevent doctors from withdrawing treatment.
While Archie's doctors claim he is "brain-stem dead", not one medic would testify before the courts that this is definitely the case.
In fact, Archie's parents have footage of their son gripping their fingers, contrary to the doctors' claim he is "brain-stem dead".
‘There’s been many occasions where he’s held my fingers.’— GB News (@GBNEWS) July 16, 2022
Hollie Dance vows to fight the court ruling that her son, Archie Battersbee, is dead and his treatment should stop.
📺 Freeview 236, Sky 515, Virgin 626
💻 GB News YouTube: https://t.co/Wa58gYYAod pic.twitter.com/IRo5PdeWaI
Instead, Archie's mom is insisting that God should decide when her son passes, not doctors, lawyers, judges and politicians.
Archie's dad, Paul Battersbee, fell ill outside the Court of Appeals on 25 July as he awaited a ruling that upheld the hospital's right to withdraw life-support treatment.
Such is the stress, anxiety and pain that is being inflicted on these poor parents.
Please stand with this sorrowful mother and father today as they fight for their beloved son.
Sign The Petition: Let Archie Live.
And please say a prayer for Archie and his family - this was the scene before lawyers managed to submit the ECHR application:
His parents 🥺🙏 pic.twitter.com/QANNFkcgtG— 🇦🇺🇳🇿 ♀️Emma ♀️ 🇭🇺🇬🇧 (@TheCynicalHun) August 3, 2022
UK Supreme Court refuses more time for Archie's parents to appeal to UN court - LifeSiteNews
Soon we were coordinating protests and other activities together, and other high schools in the area began joining with our own. John of St. Michael’s College School, Peter of Brebeuf College, a number of rather giggly but still dedicated young ladies from Senator O’Connor, and many other schools’ pro-life leaders and their groups joined us. In short time our abortuary protests grew in number: sometimes we were as many as 200 strong.
We could be loud but were always peaceful. Supervision from adults was minimal, with our activities always initiated, organized, and led by students. Sometimes it was difficult. We knew what we were doing was right but had little cultural support. Today, a student who wants to hoist the gay pride flag atop a Catholic school’s flagpole or shame adults for using gasoline will find ample support on Twitter, the mainstream media and from ‘woke’ politicians. But then? We were debating, organizing, speaking to our classes, and doing all we could to raise awareness and inspire action amongst our peers on our own to oppose the greatest crime against the most vulnerable in our society today.
Ironically, that semi-isolation made for a group bonding that was unique among our peers. When so many in our age group were drinking, drugging or getting pregnant, in our down-time we’d take summer excursions along the Harbourfront festivities, have 20-person pizza dates, or just hang out at someone’s house for a movie or to celebrate a birthday. We dubbed ourselves the “Nice Kids From Hell” after an old SCTV skit, denoting our activism and unyielding opposition to abortion and other wrongs against human life, but also the kind of innocent, joyful fun we had without anything that could make for later regrets.
Time marched on. Some went to university, some kept fighting, some stopped, some left the faith, some returned. Dorothy became a Catholic journalist, and Teresa became a loving wife and full-time mother. Colin developed a successful career in finance, and Jon became a right-wing political activist. Peter became a loan officer, Steve a landscape architect, Kara a lawyer. Ben chose to be a factory worker, and Nat expressed her frustration with family issues by repudiating her pro-life past altogether. Me? I attended university down in the States, met a wonderful woman, had seven children with her, and today teach high school English while writing novels.
We’ve gone in diverse directions since those heady days in the 80s when we took on the world and tried to change it. Most of us came out tougher, smarter, and savvy enough to question the narratives the world kept trying to feed us.
Our job now is to prep the next generations in a world even more hostile to truth. While it may seem daunting, there’s always hope.
In the past two years alone we’ve seen the Americans overturn Roe v. Wade during the days of an ultra-pro-abortion-choice administration, the credibility of the radical left evaporate in mainstream culture, and the pro-life movement stubbornly refuse to die despite the conspiracy of silence waged upon it for decades.
We were ardent, powerful, and remained unbroken witnesses for life as teens in the 80s. But our job isn’t finished, and neither is the pro-life movement in Canada.
John McNichol was born in Toronto, Canada, and graduated from Franciscan University in 1992. Today he resides with his wife and children in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where he teaches English and writes the occasional novel. His latest, “Where the Red Sands Fly,” is the conclusion to the “Young Chesterton Chronicles” series and is due out this year from Hillside Books.