Vancouver pro-lifer Gordon Watson is fed up. He has tried everything in his power to put a halt to the Vancouver’s sprawling abortion business. Nothing has succeeded so, in an unorthodox move, the 42-year-old screen printer has decided to take the industry to court.

Under the rather obscure B.C. Trade Practices Act, any citizen may sue an institution on behalf of another party even if he has not been personally affected by the offending institution. Mr. Watson hopes that he can prove that Vancouver’s two abortuaries, Everywoman’s Health Centre and the Elizabeth Bagshaw Clinic (both which receive over $500,000 a year in government health care funds), are guilty of deception.

Abortuaries face lawsuit

Mr. Watson has several points on which he hopes to base his suit:

•    primarily, he feels that the clinics, in receiving a large transfer of public funds from the government, are doing so without revealing the terms of the transaction. This, he claims, is deceiving the public
•    he also mentions that the facilities have ultrasound equipment on the premises but refuse to show the women the images of their unborn babies. This is the withholding of a “material fact”
•    finally, Mr. Watson points out that earlier this year, after a woman died of a botched abortion, a coroner advised NDP Health Minister Elizabeth Cull that all prospective abortion patients should be made aware, in writing, of all the things that can go wrong during an abortion. This has not been done and is therefore another instance of deception

Because the Trade Practices Act is not often used, it is difficult to determine what chance Mr. Watson has of winning his case. If he does succeed, the operators of the clinic will face possible fines or jail terms.

Representatives of the abortuaries have argued that the suit is frivolous and vexatious and have called for its dismissal. If this occurs, Mr. Watson will be liable for the defendants’ court costs.

The NDP government of British Columbia has made it quite clear that they intend to throw their full support behind the province’s abortion facilities. Mr. Watson is in for a major battle but, if he wins, he may have found the legal leverage which pro-lifers so dearly covet.

(Source: September 7, 1992 Alberta Report.)