Four appeals of the development permit of Henry Morgentaler’s abortuary in Edmonton’s west end have reportedly delayed the abortuary opening until July 1991.
Morgentaler disclosed to the media that appeals to the Development Appeal Board heard March 14 have delayed renovations and set back the opening of the abortuary by at least four months. The original scheduled opening was March 15.
“Pro-lifers are very happy that their efforts are paying off,” noted Susan McNeely, vice-president of Campaign Life Coalition Alberta. “We hope to keep him out permanently because every day he’s not open, that’s more babies we’ve saved.”
Pro-lifers picket the ‘clinic-to-be’ some four a days. Due to their presence tradesmen seem loathe to do the required renovations.
Appealing the development were the Canora community league, Dr. Gloria Mok and Dr. T.A. Kasper and Associates, who operate a medical centre right beside the proposed abortuary. Lianne Laurence is appealing on behalf of Campaign Life Coalition/Alberta.
Mike O’Malley of Campaign Life Coalition/Calgary is arguing Miss Laurence’s appeal. The decision by the board can be appealed to the Alberta Court of Appeal, and “we fully intend to do that if necessary,” she noted.
The outcome of the appeal was unavailable at press time.
College of Physicians and Surgeons
Other initiatives by Edmonton pro-lifers include a 10,000 name petition presented to the College o Physicians and Surgeons March 8. This is “just one in a series of ongoing lobbying efforts” directed at the College, which has yet to give Morgentaler a licence to practice in Alberta, Mrs. McNeely noted. Long range plans of pro-life groups in Edmonton include a Life Chain May 11, and city-wide leafleting the last week of April.
Meanwhile a Calgary judge dismissed an appeal by Michael O’Malley on behalf of 21 people convicted of criminal mischief following a rescue operation at the Peter Lougheed Hospital March 7, 1989.
O’Malley, president of Campaign Life Calgary, said the decision by the Court of Appeal shows “all they do in the absence of a law is just permit abortion.”
In his appeal O’Malley argued that the 21 people convicted lacked the mens rea or intent to commit an unlawful action.
He used the Supreme Court’s Morgentaler decision of January 28, 1988 which pointed out that protection of the fetus is a valid objective of Canadian criminal law.
It follows that “the purpose of the accused in protecting the fetus was the same purpose as stated by the Supreme Court as a valid social objective which Parliament could enforce by law,” O’Malley noted in his appeal. “Hence the intent of the accused cannot be stated as an evil intent.”
The court, however, ruled that the appellants’ “honest belief in any statement of facts suggesting that they had the right to pursue the protection of the fetus, does not translate into ‘the colour of right’ or ‘legal justification or excuse’ to interfere with the lawful use of the hospital by patients and staff involving legally permissible surgical procedures.”
The appeal was dismissed February 1, 1991.