ST. THOMAS, Ont. — Four pro-life activists pleaded not guilty Jan.14 to “exhibiting a disgusting object” during last summer’s Show the Truth tour.

John Bulsza of London, Rosemary Connell of Peterborough, Ann-Marie Tomlins of Barrie, and Bill Whatcott of Toronto were charged with publicly exhibiting a disgusting object and causing a public disturbance by displaying graphic photos of aborted children.

The four participated in Show the Truth Tour that visited major cities from Windsor to Brantford, including Sarnia, Chatham, London, St. Thomas, Stratford and Woodstock.

It was in St. Thomas, the fifth city in the tour, where the charges were laid.

The presence of the four pro-lifers was not met with favor by some local business persons, city hall employees and the police. The tour participants displayed large images of both healthy pre-born and full-term babies, and aborted babies at various stages of development.

The four pro-lifers had their signs confiscated and were jailed for approximately five hours as a result of the incident.

The four accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. During the first two days of the trial, the prosecution’s witnesses took the stand and were grilled by a defence team led by Paul Vandervet of Brantford, Ont.

One of the key issues in this case is freedom of speech and the right to inform and educate the public about the issue of abortion.

Show the Truth participants, and their U.S. counterparts the Missionaries to the Preborn, believe the displays are necessary to overcome the media’s efforts to ignore or suppress the true, graphic nature of abortion.

A similar Show the Truth tour, involving visits to Canadian and U.S. cities bordering the Great Lakes, is scheduled for July 6-11, 1998.

The case continues April 1 – 3 in St. Thomas. At that time, the four defendants are expected to be called to the witness stand.

Donations may be made to their defence. Cheques may be made payable to the Legal Defence Fund (in the memo portion of the cheques write “St. Thomas case”). Send to Campaign Life Coalition, 53 Dundas St. East, Suite 305, Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1C6.