In Calgary this year, pro-lifers will take their battle for the preborn to the courts. Within a two-week period in January, Michael Malley, President of Campaign Life Calgary and an indefatigable defender of pre-born children for many years, initiated statements of claim in the Court of Queen’s Bench against what he calls the “abortion establishment” in that city.
Last fall, Malley won a legal victory when the Court of Appeal partially overturned an earlier injunction prohibiting him from suing the agency name, Calgary Family Planning Centre – a name similar to that of an organization that provided abortion counseling referrals.
It was Malley’s action to intercept clients seeking advice on how to abort that brought down upon him and Campaign Life Calgary the re of Norma Scarborough, President of Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL). An undated letter, signed by Scarborough, and sent nationwide to a wide variety of individuals and organizations, including many in Calgary, accuses the pro-life movement of “new and disturbing tactics,” “desperate women are being stonewalled.” She goes on to the level accusations against the President of Campaign Life Calgary himself:
“In Alberta anti-abortion campaigner, Michael Malley, listed a phone number in the Calgary telephone directory under eight names, several of them similar to pro-choice family planning clinics…Women, desperate for abortion referral information, contact organizations like these. Not only are they denied the information they need, but they are also subjected to propaganda about the horrors of ‘killing babies.’”
Scarborough then details further instances of the “crisis in abortion referral information” and solicits funds for a number of hotlines to CARAL centers. “The women who need abortion information can’t wait.”
For these accusations Malley has sues CARAL, Norma Scarborough and the Calgary Birth Control Association with defamation since, so the statement of claim declares, they mean among other things that he and the Calgary Family Planning Centre offer illegitimate, fraudulent and biased counseling tot pregnant women.
And because they impute to the Calgary Family Planning Centre the intention of passing itself off as the existing (pro-abortion) Family Planning Clinics so as to deliberately deceive its clients, the statements are further defamatory, concludes the claim.
The efforts of Patrick O’Callaghan, Publisher of the Calgary Herald, to ridicule and silence Michael Malley have earned the newspaper man a day in court. In the Court of Queen’s Bench early in January, Malley claimed defamation and requested reasonable access to the Letters to the Editor page of the Herald.
For nearly two years, in countless letters and phone calls, Malley has carried on a valiant, unwearying struggle against the Herald’s pro-abortion bias.
(Publisher O’Callaghasn asserts in a letter to the President of a local pro-life group that “the Herald’s point of view on abortion is simple: it respects the right of all ends of that spectrum mof debate to be heard, and will endeavor to present hose views, wherever relevant, as news stories.” But it should be noted that any newspaper strikes an editorial position by its judgment of what is a relevant news story, and that this newspaper, by its Publisher’s action toward a leader in the fight for the pre-born, has made it inevitable that only stories supportive of abortion will be considered newsworthy.)
For his pro-life efforts Malley has received a number of letters from O’Callaghan, the language of which Murray Campbell, reporter for the Globe and Mail, describes with considerable understatement as “colourful and vigorous.” In them Malley is characterized as “obnoxious,” “pompous” and an “insulting jackass”; he writes “utter garbage…defamatory in intent and totally malicious.” “Thank you,” O’Callaghan wrote in one ‘colourful and vigourous’ letter,”for your latest vituperative and totally unbalanced outpouring of innuendo, quarter-truths, false assumptions and idiotic attempts to influence a newspaper.”
Mr. O’Callaghan’s action is the strongest example so far of the Herald’s “very negative position on the pro-live movement,” believes William Lenihan, past president of the Calgary Coalition for Life.