One evening in late September, staff and supporters of Henry Morgentaler’s Edmonton abortuary gathered to celebrate the building first anniversary. Well-known pro-life activist Jim Demers showed up to observe the proceedings as a photographer and reporter for the Alberta Report. Photographers from the other Edmonton papers were also present. However, the clinic staffers identified Mr. Demers not only as a pro-lifer, but also as one who had already been arrested for ignoring a court injunction that banned protests within a certain limit. They notified the police who came promptly, arrested surprised Demers, and put him into a crowded overnight cell.
The next day in court, two of Morgentaler’s star lawyers, Peter Owen an Ellen Tricoll, arrived to show that Mr. Demers had violated the injunction on seven points. Demers pointed out that he came not as a picketer but as a magazine photographer. Secondly, he showed that he wasn’t disrupting abortions because the clinic was closed, there were no patients present and there was a party in progress on the premises. Having heard enough, the judge found that the abortuary did not have a legitimate case and dismissed the charges.
Even though the charges were dropped, the incident has left Mr. Demers with a sour taste in his mouth. It is not the jail time that troubles him – he has been arrested too many times to worry about that. What does worry him and many others around the country is that in too many cases the police will quickly respond to the whims of the abortuary staff. “It’s not right,” says Mr. Demers. “Susan Fox (Edmonton clinic director) should not be able to phone the police, point someone out and say, ‘Go arrest him.’”
(Source: Western Report, October 5, 1992)