by Patricia Ann Dowling
And that is exactly what pro-life warriors did on a Holy Saturday morning at the Northeast Women’s Center (located in Northeast Philly) in April of 1985.
With the help of long-time pro-life advocate and friend, Susan Silcox, the Easter Bunny prevented this abortion facility from committing abortions that day. (Susan was the spokesperson for the Easter Bunny as bunnies can’t talk.)
I had rented a ‘bunny costume’ the day before, and on an adding machine tape, typed the following message, “Where Have all the Children Gone?”, added children’s names to the rest of the tape and placed it in an Easter basket.
The next morning, we left Susan's house to head to the abortion facility. As some of my children were young enough to still believe in the Easter Bunny, I had gone to her home to put on the costume. We then stopped by her Dad’s store, a 7-11 which was located in Northeast Philly, and he gave us a couple of boxes of Easter candy to distribute.
On our arrival, we were told that the electricity had been out all morning in the building, but only in the offices and the floors occupied by the Northeast Women’s Center. (A little Divine Intervention?) We were let into the building by the security guard hired by this abortion facility, and proceeded to visit the various offices inside, handing out candy to everyone.
When we came to the abortion center’s office, we went in and handed out candy to those waiting for abortions as well. Of course, the Administrator was freaking out as these women then wouldn’t be able to have their procedures that day. Before leaving their office, we placed the Easter basket with the candy and adding machine tape (buried in the bottom of the basket) on their front desk.
After leaving their offices, we took the stairs to the lobby where we were apprehended by several Civil Affairs officers who were alerted by the administrator. (Civil Affair officers were always present when we were praying and sidewalk counseling outside.)
While waiting in the lobby for the officers to convince the administrator that it wasn’t a wise idea to arrest the Easter Bunny on Holy Saturday (bad press for them), one of our leaders, Mike McMonagle, had the children who had come with their pro-life parents to pray, gather at the door of the building. With their noses pressed against the windowpane, he had them chant, “Free the Easter Bunny.”
After what seemed like hours, the administrator finally relented, and we were released. As soon as we left, the electricity was restored to their facility; however, it was too late to perform any abortions, particularly since all of those waiting for abortions had eaten the candy offered them.
I’m not sure if they all returned the following week for their abortions, but I have always hoped and prayed that at least some of them had a change of heart.
Easter Bunny’s first rescue, or a Divine Intervention? You decide.
Editor's Note: This facility eventually lost their lease at 9600 Roosevelt Blvd., due largely to the efforts of the members of the Northeast Philadelphia Pro-Life Coalition. Sadly, they were able to purchase a building a little farther up the road on Comly Road. It is now the site of a Planned Parenthood.