The pro-life battle for civil rights continues unabated.
On September 11, 1989, Madame Justice Mable Van Camp granted lead of appeal to Cambridge Right to Life with respect to the injunction prohibiting picketing of the office of 2 abortionists. (see The Interim, September 1989, page 14) One of 2 doctors has announces he is leaving for New Mexico. Meanwhile, the injunction itself remains until an appeal may overthrow it though the conditions had been changes somewhat. Picketing is now permitted outside a 10-foot perimeter around the office by no more than 5 picketers at a time, or a 500 foot perimeter by more then five picketers.
Judge Van Camp also re-affirmed the prohibition of the term “killing,” imposed by District Court Judge Jane Scott on July 4. Scot had ruled that the picketers’ use of the word “kill” on their signs (“Dr. Assad Stop killing unborn babies now”) was an accusation of an illegal or criminal act, namely the equivalent of “murder.” Pro-lifers have pointed out that the ruling makes no sense. Murder is a legal term for illegal ending of life of someone unborn. If the deliberate death of babies is nor regarded as murder under Canadian law, it certainly must be recognized as killing.
On September 12 a group of Students for Life were picketing the local the local Planed Parenthood offices as they have done regularly for some time. One of the, Barry D’Costa, 18, was carrying a picture of a decapitated aborted baby.
Two plainclothes police officers in an unmarked car stopped and demanded the poster for evidence in their investigation on a complaint from a Cathy Brown that the poster was obscene. Subsequently D’Costa was arrested for not turning it over, handcuffed, and detained at the police station without charge until mid-afternoon.
Armed with a search warrant issued by Judge Sharon Woodbridge, D’Costa was taken from his own home still under arrest. The house was searched and most of his pro-life material was seized. Only then was D’Costa released. That evening citizen Cathy Brown, together with abortionist Normand Assad of Cambridge, addressed a “Citizens for Choice” meeting.
(The Kitchener-Waterloo Record of September 8 reported that the Right to Life president Bernard Currie had expressed hesitation as well at ‘showing such photographs publicly.”)
A pro-life group that lost its third court battle in September is now preparing to go all the way to the Supreme Court.
Judge Anton Demong fined 21 Campaign Life Coalition Calgary protesters $150 each on September 18 for public mischief for disrupting abortions at the Peter Lougheed Hospital on March 7.
CLC president Michael Malley observed that the judge was interesting in protecting property rights, not in protecting human lives. CLC members had been charged for trespassing after a February 18 protest and six counts of breaching a March 10 injunction banning future protests.
CLC plans to launch and appeal under section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “We’re stating any law which penalizes us from protecting the fetus conflicts with the Charter,” Malley said in a Calgary Herald story.
Three out of four women charged with criminal contempt for activities outside Vancouver’s privately owned abortuary last February were found not guilty on October 7. Madame Justice Carol Huddart said she was not satisfied the Crown’s evidence proved the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. She reserved judgment on the charge against the fourth accused, Sissy von Dehn.