Five pro-lifers in British Columbia faced charges for activities outside a Vancouver abortuary at the end of August.

The pro-life trails coincide with the court hearings for the environmental protests in the Clayoquot Sound region of the province.  The anti-logging activists received international attention for their attempts to save the old-growth forests in the western part of Vancouver Island.

Many pro-lifers are watching to se how the courts treat the two different groups.

Two of the pro-life protestors were still in jail up until their trail August 31 when they were found guilty of breaking the injunction outside the Everywoman’s Clinic in Vancouver.  Pam Birch and Jen Ziemann were arrested at the clinic August 12.  Birch received a two month suspended sentence and Ziemann received four months.

Bill Van Eldrik, a pro-life activist in B.C., witnessed the arrests and said the rescuers refused to co-operate with police in any way and had to be carried into custody.

In sentencing them, Justice Low, of the B.C. Supreme Court said it saddened him “to see that they had resorted to breaking the law rather than using the democratic process.”

At the same time thee is a case pending against three pro-lifers – Christine Hendrix, Gord Watson and Brian Breton – who Van Eldrik says were distributing pamphlets and counseling outside the abortuary at the end of April.

“They were arrested for no other reason,” he says.  “They were not blockading the clinic.  It should be an interesting case.  It brings into question the Charter of Rights.”

The same judge who sentenced Birch and Ziemann will also hear the case against the other three pro-lifers.

John Hof, president of Campaign Life Coalition B.C. has been following the case which he says is important for pro-lifers across the country.

“I would say that what happens in this case will set a precedent for all of Canada,” he said.

He said it could have an effect on the Ontario situation where the province is seeking a blanket injunction keeping pro-lifers away from clinics, hospitals and doctors’ homes and offices.

The hearing could also have an impact on the outcome of the Clayoquot Sound protests which also involved breaking an injunction.

The environmental protests in the old-growth forests began in earnest during the Canada Day weekend.  On July 5 New Democrat MP Svend Robinson joined the Friends of Clayoquot Sound to break a Supreme Court injunction prohibiting the blockade of nearby logging.

Robinson left before the police started dragging off protestors.  Hundreds were arrested for breaking the injunction and some remain in custody and were scheduled to appear in court at the end of August, coinciding with the pro-life trials.

“It would be interesting to make the comparison of the treatment received in each situation,” Van Eldik says.