While things initially looked very bleak for the Melbourne Helpers when the 150 metres abortion exclusion zone was first introduced, it is now obvious that God had His Plan to make sure that, until our rights are restored, we would be able to continue to make a powerful public witness about the value of each and every human life.
The striking banners we initially displayed outside Jolimont Station in Wellington Parade East Melbourne, one of the most prominent spots in Melbourne, ensured that that the general public were left in no doubt that babies were being slaughtered 150 metres from where we were standing. These banners were eventually replaced by some of the most powerful and compelling images of unborn children that the Helpers have ever displayed. The level of fascinated interest and/or intense outrage that these placards have generated has been extraordinary. This is unsurprising as every working day thousands of Melbournians are being visibly challenged with the truth about the humanity of the unborn child and the horror of abortion. In previous articles I have recounted several of the interactions we have had with members of the public. The most memorable of these for me concerned the pretty schoolgirl who thanked the Helpers for giving her the courage to defy her parents and to bring to term the tiny baby she was then carrying in her arms. If the Helpers had not been previously "banished" to the 150 metre mark outside Jolimont station, this brave young mother would not have been confronted on a daily basis with the powerful images of unborn children which made such a profound impact on her. Without our public witness in this particular spot this mother's baby would most likely not have survived. One of our regular passersby of a morning is a very friendly Moslem mother of two who always gives us a friendly smile and sometimes stops for a chat. When I told her the above story about this brave schoolgirl, she replied that if this was the only baby we helped save throughout all the time we spent witnessing on the streets it would have been well worth it. How right she is!
During most mornings on the streets several people register their strong disapproval of our presence on the footpath. One male cyclist always yells out "filth" as he tears past us. Several young females hurl obscenities at us through winded down car windows. Rather than deter us however, these interactions help confirm to us that we are making a huge impact on our society. The reaction is however certainly not all one way. The other day there were amazingly six pedestrians who expressed their approval of what we were doing including one young male who said "God bless you". On the other hand there have been some very unhappy females who have stopped to argue with us in recent days. One of these threatened to bring her mates along to rough us up and the next day she unsuccessfully tried to tear our placards off the suitcase to which they were attached. Also recently a middle aged man tried to steal our signs but once again without success.
While enjoying a wind up coffee in a nearby park last week, we were approached by two groups of senior students from a large co-ed Catholic school who were randomly interviewing people they came across on social issues as part of their academic studies. The students were wide eyed when we explained to them what we were doing there that morning and expressed amazement that an exclusion zone had been introduced to impede our life-saving work. One of these students (a male) told us that a young family female friend had turned away from abortion three years ago after being spoken to by people outside a Melbourne abortion clinic.
My colleague said these people would have been part of our group. The topic of rape was brought up by one of these male students who finished up by saying "but what if the girl just doesn't want to go through the pain and process of childbirth?". I noticed some of the girls in the group nodding in agreement with my conclusion that " in the final analysis the baby's right to life must take precedence over the right of the mother to kill her baby".
A few weeks ago a woman in her 30's was screaming several metres away on the tram stop "your foot is on the line". The culprit, in steadfastly refusing to budge, caused the woman to work herself up into a lather. To any objective bystander, what could possibly be offensive about a small group of people quietly praying on the footpath and displaying beautiful pictures of unborn babies? Unfortunately, a very significant number of passersby are not objective bystanders. The majority of these people have either been personally hurt by abortion or know people who have. The last thing they want to see first thing of a morning is something which reminds them of past dark times. It has indeed been obvious for some time now that the the only thing that will satisfy abortion supporters is for the Helpers to pack up and disappear from public view.
Decriminalization of abortion, its public funding and the exclusion zone are not sufficient for them. Indeed, society's current attitude towards pro-lifers is reminiscent of what faced abolitionists in the slavery era. When the slavery debate was at its fiercest, Abraham Lincoln was asked publicly what it would take to make slave owners happy? The American President replied:
" this and only this - that we cease to call slavery wrong and join them in calling it right - and this must be done not only in words but in actions. We must place ourselves unreservedly on their side".
One thing is certain - we must never yield in our fight for justice in the greatest human rights issue of our time. We owe it to the babies to continue bringing before the public's consciousness the truth about the deadly holocaust that is occurring right in front of their noses - in green, leafy and deadly East Melbourne. No matter how few there may be who are currently standing up publicly for life, as long as there are at least some, there is no doubt that, with God on our side, victory will eventually be ours.