Lawyers defending the 18 pro-lifers against the persecution of the Ontario Attorney General have mounted a spirited defence of the rights or their clients – and all Ontarians – to the very basics of free speech and assembly. Now it’s up to the judge to decide whether to grant the government its extraordinary request for an injunction banning pro-life activity at 23 locations across the province.
After the months of cross-examination, mountains of evidence, and three weeks of testimony, many questions remain.
Why, first of all, is the government using taxpayers’ money to do the dirty work of the abortionists? Why won’t it reveal whether taxpayer are paying for the high-priced lawyers representing the abortion clinics? Why is the Attorney General constantly referring to Operation Rescue (which hasn’t happened for four years) and the arson at the Morgentaler Clinic (which hasn’t been linked to any pro-life individual or group)? And, most important, why is the NDP able to get away with using the courts to silence the voice of a movement which is fundamentally opposed to its anti-life ethic but is otherwise peaceful?
Marion Boyd, the Attorney General, has admitted under cross-examination that her action will take away the civil rights of the defendants guaranteed under the Charter of Rights. As the lawyers have argued, this action by the government ignores the conduct, the numbers, and the actions of the pro-lifers. It focuses solely on the message conveyed.
Courts have granted injunctions in some locations in North America but they have always been at the request of private parties. Never has a government gone to bat in court for the abortionists. This is an attack by the NDP on the whole pro-life movement, not just the 18 defendants. Sitting in the court room, watching the proceedings, it becomes obvious this whole affair is politically motivated and meant to appease the one constituency which the NDP hasn’t already alienated.
The government argues that a sense of fear pervades the abortion clinics. It says access to abortion is threatened by pro-life picketing and counseling. But it offers no evidence of any decrease in abortions in this province as a result of picketing. On the contrary, the number of abortions in Ontario remains sky high. How many will it take before the NDP is satisfied? While massive budget cuts affect almost every other medical service in the province, abortion remains untouched. And the abortuaries in this province continue to milk the taxpayers for huge sums of money every year.
The evidence is clear that pro-life activity in Ontario is peaceful, and counseling outside clinics is a benefit to women. Women who don’t want help are free to ignore the pro-life message, and the evidence of that is clear also. This has been passionately argued by the lawyers representing the pro-lifers.
We must all hope and pray, that the judge recognizes the government action for what it is, and sees his way clear to the truth.