Calgary’s Kensington “clinic”, owned by abortionist Theodore Busheikin, obtained an injunction on December 17 prohibiting protesters from coming within 90 metres of it.
Lawyer Wendy Best argued the abortionist’s case, claiming that demonstrators should not be allowed to and out literature that could interfere with Busheikin’s “business”.
Michael O’Malley of Campaign Life Calgary, and Gil Ludwig, attorney for Christians Concerned for Life, convinced Justice Blair Mason that the distance was excessive and violated the individual right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights. The injunction was therefore modified to allow four demonstrators to stand on the sidewalk in front of the clinic.
Other protestors, however, are required to stay at least 50 metres away.
At first city officials were uncertain what action to take in the event of a breach of the injunction.
Calgary police inspector John Mcfadden admits he conferred with Crown Prosecutors Tudor Beattie, Beth Miller and Beth Hughes shortly after the injunction came out. The four of them decided that violators would be dealt with in criminal court, rather than in civil court.
The Kensington “clinic” has also used the Courts to conceal its deadly “business”. Early in January, “clinic’ staff asked the court to clarify the injunction with the result that placards that say “Abortion is Murder”, or that “Abortion Kills” are now considered “defamatory” and cannot be used by the four protesters allowed on the abortuary’s sidewalk.
Explained Justice Mason:
“Standing there with a sign saying ‘Baby Murderer’, to me, is offensive…It indicates that the crime of murder is being perpetrated under the law of Canada, and that is not the case.”
Signs that read “Right to Life”, or “Choose Life” would be acceptable.
Technically speaking, Justice Mason is correct because in law the term murder is applied only to termination of the life of a legal person. In March 1991, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that an unborn baby does not qualify as a legal person.
Pro-lifer doesn’t agree
Shortly after the court’s “clarification”, 66-year-old Calgary grandmother, Stella Attrell, was criminally charged for a placard she displayed in front of the clinic, which abortuary director Carolyn Bennet found offensive.
The sign read: “Baby said: what choice? I want to live too.” Although the sign did not say abortion was murder, Police Inspector Mcfadden said that the sign was not in the “spirit” of the injunction.
The courts have not yet determined what to do with the “criminal” grandmother.
Only two days later Mr. O’Malley risked being arrested when he held up a sign in front of the “clinic” which carried the definition of abortion from the fifth edition of Black’s Law Book: “Abortion: the knowing destruction of the life of an unborn child.”
He was not arrested because abortuary staff feared it might provoke more media attention.
Abortion transcends legalese
Mr. O’Malley explains that he understands the court’s obligation to protect people from being accused of illegal behaviour, but “abortion is a moral and political issue which transcends such a narrow reading of the law.” We should, he said, have the freedom to say that “abortion kills babies.”
Campaign Life Calgary is taking the abortion ‘clinic’ to court over the arrest, charging disrespect for the rights of the demonstrators when 66-year-old Mrs. Atwell was arrested and action taken contrary to the constitution.
Rather than take her before the Court of Queen’s Bench, police took her immediately before the Criminal Division of the Alberta Provincial Court. CL/Calgary charges that this was under the instruction of Crown Attorneys Beth Miller and Beth Hughes.
Treating violations of the injunction as criminal offences will certainly thwart future plans for rescue operations at the abortuary, but this, says Mr. O’Malley, appears to be the intention of the Crown.
The court decision in Calgary prohibiting the designation of abortion as “murder” is akin to the injunction issued by Ontario Justice Janet Scott in July 1989. Justice Scott forbade pro-life protestors in Cambridge, Ontario, to carry signs or distribute literature describing abortionists as “killing unborn babies.”
To the everlasting shame of the Ontario judiciary this ruling was upheld first by Madam Justice Mabel Van Camp in September 1989 by three judges of the Ontario Divisional Court: Mr. Justice Patrick Hartt, Mr. Justice David Henry and Mr. Justice Douglas Cooper. (“Cambridge Injunction says,” The Interim, December 1990, page 1)