Within a year or two of becoming a Christian, I became aware of the nature of abortion. In the 1980’s I was very involved with the political wing of a Canadian pro-life group, called Campaign Life, and served on their board for several years. I thought I would share just a few memories I have of that time.
Campaign Life intersected with its educational counterpart, Canadian Right-to-Life. So I got to know their personnel, as well. I have a vivid memory of the president of Right-to-Life, Laura McArthur, saying in her inimitable, gravelly voice, “Dey want to teach my son sex ed. De kid still goes to bed with Curious George.” Exactly! And, oh Laura, if you were only alive now….
Jim Hughes was then president of Campaign Life. (He is still active as vice president of the international Right to Life Federation) Like most of the executive then, and perhaps now, Jim was a fervent Roman Catholic. We became good friends – I liked him greatly – but, on my part, there was always the discomfort of knowing my Catholic friends saw this as a joint religious crusade – something that I could not accept, and which gradually drove me from the movement.
I was not aware that perceptive Jim saw this clearly. One day after I had sat awkwardly with them in the office as a priest lead them in prayer, he pulled me aside and said, “Roman Catholicism is really hard for you, isn’t it, Barbara?” and I told him of my many concerns. He listened intently and then said, “Barbara, I would say you represent 10% of Evangelicals…..No, 5%…..”
About this same time, we had another board meeting. There were, perhaps, ten of us , carefully chosen, hand-picked. Jim said, “Someone in here is leaking our plans to the opposition.”
I have never forgotten the shock of that moment. And, of course, I have no idea who it was. I just know it wasn’t me! But it gave me a taste of what it must be like to be a Christian in a country where our faith is illicit. Who do you trust?
In one of the final years of my involvement, Right-to-Life’s media people decided they wanted to make several ads featuring couples at different stages of life, all telling of their opposition to abortion. They would be shown in Toronto during the Grey Cup – Canada’s equivalent to the Super Bowl.
They asked John and I if we would be the family couple. We agreed, though I can’t say we shone as scripted spokesmen. In any case, while they were filming us, my little one-year-old Susanna came and demanded to be held. So somewhere in the archives of filmdom are John and Barbara, with little red-kilted Susanna, speaking about one of the most important moral issues of our day. And little Susanna, now a mom with four children, writes articles (as one of their evangelical voices) for a website begun by these same tenacious old friends and their children!
If you are interested, check it out. Very Catholic. But very well done.