British Columbia pro-life activist Jim Demers will be sentenced this month after a provincial court judge found him guilty of violating the province’s Access to Abortion Service Act, commonly known as the “bubble-zone” law.

Demers, who bases his protest on international covenants calling for the protection of human life from the moment of conception, was arrested in early December 1997 for a series of protests outside Vancouver abortion clinics.

The Nelson, B.C. resident and father of five has argued that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms should recognize the personhood of the unborn child from the moment of conception.

He says it is inconsistent for the Canadian government to support international accords recognizing the right to life of the unborn, while repeated court decisions deny that same right.

Demers’s latest appeal was rejected in December by British Columbia provincial court Justice J.J. McGivern who said the Charter’s use of the words “everyone” and “every individual” excludes unborn children.

A British Columbia coalition of pro-life groups expressed dismay at the McGivern decision.

Coalition spokesman Peter Ryan, head of the Vancouver archdiocese’s respect life office, said the court ruling is a clear violation of civil liberties and freedom of expression.

“Now we have open season against our youngest children,” Ryan told The B.C. Catholic.

“Here in B.C., we even punish those who defend these children … As it stands now, you can be arrested in this province for simply saying ‘Life is precious’ in a public place.”