Mark Pickup


March 9, 2015

February 2015 was a hard month for the pro-life cause. Canada's Supreme Court struck down the laws prohibiting assisted suicide. The high court stooped low to endorse the murder of Canada's suicidal sick and disabled and even those suffering from "psychological pain."

When I learned that 80 per cent of Canadians support assisted suicide, I was horrified and thought "What has to my nation come to?!' I do not know this kind of Canada. I felt like a stranger in the country of my birth.

Then during a teleconference meeting with the U.S. based Pro-Life Health Care Network, I received news that a friend and pro-life champion unexpectedly died at the age of 55.

Brother Paul O'Donnell was part of the Minneapolis-based Franciscan Brothers of Peace. We got to know each other during the unsuccessful struggle to save cognitively disabled Terri Schiavo from a Florida court-ordered execution. Her case gained international headlines, and Terri Schiavo was dehydrated to death exactly 10 years ago.

Brother Paul worked tirelessly for human rights and the dignity of the unborn, handicapped, the elderly and the poor. God called Brother Paul home in the early hours of Feb. 20. Brother Paul gained heaven. I lost a friend.

Just as I was coming to grips with the shock of Brother Paul's death, news came that Dr. Jack Willke died at the age of 90. He was known as the father of the pro-life movement and was president of the American Life Issues Institute.

Although Willke lived a long and accomplished life, the world seemed lonesome when news of his passing came.

But then as the month closed, something unexpected and wonderful happened. My wife and I went to Calgary to celebrate our grandson's birthday. Our daughter and son-in-law told us they have decided to adopt a little girl from Haiti.

My spirit soared to learn I will have a new granddaughter. We went to give a gift to our grandson and learned we will receive the gift of a granddaughter.

I do not know my new granddaughter yet but I am already head over heels in love with her. Let me call her "Baby H." She is in an orphanage now but she will be home with her forever-family sometime in the next 15 months. It takes that long.

I think it is wrong she (and we) must wait so long. Clear away the red tape and burdensome hurdles. Let adoptive families bring orphaned children out of squalid environments and dangerous places to the love and security of their new families waiting for them with open arms.


This is an important part of what it means to be pro-life. Being pro-life means changing the realities for vulnerable people from despair to care, giving nurture where there was previously rejection, and inclusion of those whom others exclude.

Being pro-life is much more than opposing abortion and euthanasia. It involves shoe leather Christianity where individual people take opportunities to plant and water seeds of love on the loveless landscape of another human being's life. They encourage those seeds to sprout and grow into full bloom.

Lives generously sprinkled with love and nurture can reach their full potential. God has shown us great love. He calls us to reflect his love in the world through our actions and behaviour.

With my daughter's decision to adopt a Haitian child, she will surely encounter stone-hearted cynics who will say places like Haiti, Sierra Leone, Somalia and North Korea have millions of orphans, so what difference does one adoption make? "It's like a drop in an ocean," they may say. Not true! For Baby H it will mean everything.


My daughter is not put off by stone-hearts who would give 100 reasons why she should not adopt an unwanted child. My daughter will respond in her simple, direct way with something like this: "Unwanted by whom? My husband and I want that child which makes her a wanted child."

That is reason enough for her to overcome the barriers other bureaucratic stone-hearts put up to keep them apart and make things difficult. Her love is tenacious.

Stone-hearts have the paralysis of over-analysis. They think with their heads removed from their hearts. They like to play the "devil's advocate." The problem is they are the devil's advocates. Action motivated by love sees the devil's advocates as just another barrier to be knocked down.