July/August, 1998 Volume XIII Number 1
Meet the neighborhood abortionists:
Abortionists party it up in Vancouver
by John Power
Vancouver, BC -- It was a conference staff and management of the opulent Hotel Vancouver are unlikely to forget soon. The May 17 through 20 annual meeting of the American based National Abortion Federation (NAF) drew 700 abortionists and clinic personnel-some from as far away as Australia-to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Described by NAF administrator Vicki Saporta as a 10th and 25th anniversary "celebration" of Canadian (Morgentaler) and U.S. (Roe v. Wade) Supreme Court decisions that allowed abortion on demand, the get-together offered hands-on workshops and sessions on subjects as diverse as how to protect clinics from malpractice suits to the identification of child body parts after a suction abortion. Predictably, security at the party was a key feature.
Normally, when the City of Vancouver lands a major convention, the news media are usually inundated with promotional material. Vancouver starts the onslaught months in advance, be it an association of brain researchers or a club of dog trainers. A veil of secrecy, however, surrounded the international NAF convention. Not only was there no advance publicity, but the convention was closed to reporters.
That did not stop the word from spreading that 700 abortionists and their supporters would be in town. Nor did the secrecy prevent an unusual pro-life vigil from taking place outside the downtown hotel in which the convention was taking place.
As puffing abortionists engaged in icy stare downs-and occasionally words-with picketing anti-abortion activists on the sidewalk of the hotel during smoking breaks, dozens of hotel security, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Vancouver city police, NAF contracted consultants, and it was even rumored FBI agents, milled in the background. Although the meeting was organized and paid for by the visiting abortionists, by party's end it was the pro-life groups who organized continuous picketing around the hotel who were claiming victory.
"They say that public exposure of the abortion industry, increases right to life support," said John Hof, president of Campaign Life Coalition British Columbia (CLCBC).
He said learned of the NAF conference, entitled "A World Vision of Choice," two months before the convention via a "brown envelope" containing promotional material and registration forms.
The anti-abortion leader - who has been called "the most well known anti-choice militant outside the United States" by former New Democratic Party (NDP) cabinet minister Joan Smallwood - believes Vancouver was selected by NAF because of the NDP governments fervid support of abortion on demand and suppression of abortion foes.
For four days, while speakers like Toronto's Judy Rebick and premiere Canadian abortionist Henry Morgentaler, who has just been ordered by a Halifax court to pay one of his Nova Scotia abortion clinic patients over $700,000 for negligence (Life Advocate, May/June 1998), entertained those inside, outside the hotel pro-lifers - from university students to whole families-walked around the hotel with signs declaring, "We love abortionists - its child killing we hate."
As news of the protest spread, picketers not associated with CLC began showing up with graphic pictures of aborted children. At noon on Tuesday the hotel asked that the disturbing pictures not be displayed by the dining room's large windows. The lady carrying the signs declined saying that the hotel's guests were responsible for the pictures and therefore should not be squeamish. The dining room pulled the drapes shut.
Vancouver police spokesperson Constable Anne Drennan reports that while they had a dozen officers on site at all times there were no incidents reported. However, while acknowledging that the abortionists brought American security consultants with them, she denies rumors that the FBI were involved.
Mark Crutcher, head of Life Dynamics of Denton, Texas is a long time foe of NAF. In 1995 he wrote Lime 5, a book detailing hundreds of abortion horror stories, many involving NAF sanctioned clinics and abortionists. (NAF claims their membership responsible for "over half" of North America's 1.6 million yearly abortions. All freestanding Canadian abortuaries are reported members.)
Interviewed by phone last week, the former marketing specialist says he has focused on the only area the abortion industry is losing ground - the fact that fewer and fewer doctors are willing to perform abortions.
While abortion activists say it is for fear of lawsuits or being shot that has reduced their numbers, Hof and Crutcher argue that it is also a lack of respectability that is costing abortion as a profession its practitioners.
The attempt to keep the convention a secret underscored Hof and Crutcher's assertion.
"There are some things that are inherently wrong," said Crutcher, "and no amount of fashionable tolerance can make such things respectable. Prostitution is a good example, ask most people and they'll say they aren't too upset about it. Ask them if they would mind their daughter becoming one, well, that's a different story. It is the same for abortion, child killing is wrong, no matter how you dress it up. A pig in a tuxedo is still a pig."
The pro-abortion appeal for more doctors has not been helped by some of their own numbers comments either. U.S. abortionist Richard Soderstrom has been quoted as saying "There are so many disincentives to providing abortions . . . doctors who introduced it to their practices received an awful lot of pressure and have been inclined to drop it."
In Canada, Vancouver abortionist Garson Romalis, who was shot in the leg four years ago told UBC medical students last year that his profession is "boring, repetitious, not technically or intellectually demanding, and not very well paying."
He added that "Abortion has always been viewed as kind of a subterranean thing. Children don't walk around saying 'My father is an abortionist.'"
CLCBCs John Hof found the Romalis quote so helpful that he had it printed on the back of his business card.
The shortage is so acute that incompetent and negligent abortionists are finding themselves in too short supply to be fired. Mark Crutcher quotes National Coalition of Abortion Providers director Ron Fitzsimmons in a 1994 report as saying; "If we see a doctor out there who's really hurting women, its incumbent upon us to blow the whistle-no matter what the outcome. But it's a real choice, because you could end up with someone worse-or no doctor at all."
That knowledge apparently prompted Everywoman's abortion clinic of Vancouver to write a letter of support for California abortionist Bruce Steir who has been charged with second degree murder in the December 13, 1996 death of 27 year old Brenda Hamptlon at a Los Angeles area abortion clinic (Life Advocate, January/February 1998). Steir is accused of knowingly puncturing the woman's uterus during a second trimester abortion and doing nothing to save the woman.
Steir attended the convention (see Sidebar).
The NAF conference wound up Wednesday with a "P.O.C. (product of conception) workshop" which promised participants "an opportunity to gain hands on experience . . . to be able to identify, with confidence, the various tissue components which may be removed . . . during a first trimester suction abortion."
As events wound down and the picketers, who had maintained their vigil for 96 hours, packed up their signs, CLCBC's Hof declared the conference an anti-abortion success.
"Every time the public gets to see the abortion industry up close, we, and the unborn babies move a little closer to the day when the killing will stop," he said.
Canada says, "Hello abortionists, adieu pro-lifers."
by John Power
American author and magazine editor Paul deParrie has never kept his opinion on abortion a secret. Every two months the portly 49-year-old grandfather oversees the production of the Oregon based anti-abortion magazine Life Advocate.
In his 12-year association with the tiny-and very provocative-publication, deParrie has traveled all over the United States witnessing events and writing stories. Last month's National Abortion Federation (NAF) provider's conference in Vancouver, British Columbia presented the opportunity for a first ever visit to Canada.
Abortionist Bruce Steir: Charged with murder in California, and was welcomed in Canada.
Anti-abortionist Paul deParrie: He needed an invitation from someone "respectable."
It was a very short trip.
On May 16 immigration officials at Surrey's Peace Arch border station told deParrie they believed his purpose was to "use Canada as a platform to advocate violence" and rejected his entry. Later that week, however, it was discovered that California abortionist Bruce Steir, who is presently facing second degree murder charges in Riverside County near Los Angeles, attended the four day NAF conference at the Hotel Vancouver with apparent impunity. (Ironically, the accused abortionist's visit coincided with Canadian immigration minister Lucienne Robillard who was also staying at the hotel.)
Pro-life activists point to the events as further evidence of a bureaucratic and political double standard when the issue is abortion. It is a charge given weight by post-conference comments of Canadian abortion apologist, CBC host broadcaster, and NAF attendee Judy Rebick, who boasted that unlike the United States, the Canadian political and judicial establishment is firmly on side when it comes to the killing of children before birth.
Outside those who attended the Vancouver abortion get together, Bruce Steir's presence remained a secret until a "Late Breaking Announcement To All Participants" bulletin circulated at the conference was leaked to a local pro-life group.
In an appeal for support for the 67-year-old Steir, the pamphlet describes how Sharon Hamptlon 27, died after submitting to a second trimester abortion at a Los Angles area abortion clinic that Steir worked at. California sources say that during the December 13, 1996 abortion, Steir-who was already on medical probation-reportedly told a nurse that he had "grabbed bowel." If true, that meant the doctor knew he had perforated the woman's uterus, yet said nothing and left to catch a plane. Hamptlon bled to death trying to drive home.
The Steir handout claims the murder charges were prompted by the California Medical Board attempt to put late-term abortionists out of business.
The bulletin ended with an offer to meet Steir by arrangements through the Hotel Vancouver operator.
Dale Akerstrom, a spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration, Vancouver, says who gets into Canada is most often determined by front line officers who man border crossings and airports. Americans with proper identification usually enter Canada without much scrutiny unless they do something to raise suspicion. It is unlikely that entry officers were aware that Steir was charged with murder and only out of jail because he was able to post a $250,000 bail. Murder charges, says Akerstrom, while still only an allegation, would likely draw some scrutiny.
It wasn't murder charges that tripped up deParrie. He told customs he wanted to visit Canadian pro-life friends and promote Life Advocate of which he carried 25 copies in his trunk. That was apparently enough to warrant a computer check. DeParrie - who has no criminal record - doesn't know what they found but it was enough to be denied entrance. The officer in charge offered him some advice, however.
"He told me," recalls the writer, "that next time I might be admitted if there are no abortionist conferences going on and I have a written invitation from a 'respectable' Canadian."
He says he finds it "pretty ironic", that Canada allows 700 people who are responsible and proud of the fact that they kill over 800,000 human beings each year, yet deny him entrance, "because they think I might incite violence."
Betty Green, president of the Vancouver Right to Life Society says she is not surprised that an abortionist accused of murder would be allowed into the country and a pro-life activist denied entrance.
"The storm troopers of the abortion industry," says Mrs. Green, "have spent years installing and cultivating friends in media, courts, and government bureaucracy. They are now pushing those allies to suppress any opposition to abortion at all. Anyone who is even perceived to be opposed to the killing of unborn children, is to be considered an enemy of the state."
She points to statements made by NAF guest speaker Judy Rebick after the conference in which she contrasts the abortion battles in Canada with those in the U.S.
"No [Canadian] politician," wrote Rebick, "...dares to publicly declare that he or she would recriminalize abortion."
She then goes on to say that in Canada-unlike the United States-abortion opponents have mostly been pushed out of the political process and describes how former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Brian Dickson told her that the 1988 Morgentaler decision-allowing unrestricted abortion until the moment of birth-was the case of which he was most proud.
Green says deParrie should not be too dismayed by his ordeal. Just before becoming Surgeon General in the Reagan administration, eminent pediatrician Dr. C. Everett Koop was stopped by Canada Customs while enroute to speak to a Victoria pro-life group. Before being granted entry the good doctor was required to surrender several of his presentation slides showing babies before birth because they were declared obscene.
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