March 11, University of Guelph
Pro-life organizers had counted on a good turn-out in Guelph; what happened far exceeded their expectations. Morgentaler addressed 830 students in War Memorial Hall, regaling his sympathetic audience with attacks on the pro-life movement, Cardinal Carter, and Canadian law, presenting himself as the true champion of women’s interests. Outside, over 1500 people rejected the abortionist’s philosophy by singing hymns and walking silently around the building. Organizers were the Guelph Right to Life Association and five campus religious groups. They did not know how many other organizations or denominations were represented.
Typical of the protesters, according to the Daily Mercury, were Jackie Jeffs, accompanied by her husband and two children. When asked if there were any circumstances under which abortion should be permitted, Jeffs said there were none. “We choose life. We disagree with being God.” Her family nodded in agreement.
Two dozen or so “pro-choice” adherents made their presence felt by chanting occasionally: “Not the church, not the state, women must control their fate.” Asked about the pro-life crowd, one of them offered the opinion that it was “a vocal minority.”
After the pro-life rally, participants packed a 240-seat hall to hear Beverly Hadland, a 36 year old pro-life speaker who has had two abortions. She explained that freedom of choice is no choice at all, that single women are often forced to have abortions because their relatives and society around them offer no support to help them have the baby. She argues that abortion was wrong. Morgentaler was wrong and that only through a renewed faith in God will society acknowledge the sanctity of life. “I was raised in a family with no moral convictions. I was taught in a secular school and when I was 19 I had no convictions of my own. The last thing my mother told me was ‘don’t come home pregnant.’”
Hadland compared the struggle of the pro-life movement to the Biblical struggle between David and Goliath. “David had faith that God would take his side.” She encouraged the audience to be like David. “You people must have that same faith that God is a miracle-working God and we will have faith to win.”
Hadland was critical of the medical profession for not telling women the long-term effects of an abortion. She has had three miscarriages since her last abortion. As a result of her two abortions, she has been diagnosed as cervically incompetent: “I can conceive but I can’t carry a baby past three months.”
She told reporters that Morgentaler is protecting men, not women, when he advocates liberal abortion laws. “He’s helping men become more irresponsible so they can play around. Liberal abortion laws means a man no longer has to accept the responsibility of supporting a child. The man can say ‘I offered to pay for an abortion, why should I support the child!’”
Henry Morgentaler demanded and received $3,000 for his lecture. Beverly Hadland refused to accept a fee.