VANCOUVER—British Columbia’s bubble zone legislation restricting non-life demonstrations has again been put to the test.

Vancouver police December 11 arrested pro-life activist Jim Demers outside Everywoman’s abortion clinic, after more than a week of picketing. Demers had been carrying a sign displaying article -4- of the American Convention on Human Rights. The article reads: “Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right shall be protected by law and, in general from the moment of conception.”

The previous week, Demers stood outside both the Bagshaw and Everywoman’s abortion clinics in Vancouver with a sign reading “Every human being has the inherent right to life.” Part of the United Nations international covenant on civil and political rights.

Demers was taken into custody December 9 but was released with no charges laid. At the time, he was told he would be charged if he returned to either clinic. He continued his vigil the following day wearing a gag and blindfold to indicate he would not be watching or addressing anyone entering or leaving the clinic. Police ignored Demers’ action December 10, but were out in strength the afternoon of December 11 to make the arrest.

According to B.C. pro-life officials, Demers will act on his own defence and will cite the United Nations charter on the right to life. Canada is a signatory of the U.N. charter. Demers also refused to sign an undertaking saying he would stay away from Vancouver abortion clinics.

At press time, it wasn’t certain if Demers would be in custody over the Christmas-New year holidays. A pre-trial conference was set for Dec. 20, with trial dates scheduled for Feb. 5, 7, and 10, 1997.

Demers is the latest victim of British Columbia’s restrictive legislation against pro-life witnessing. In fall, 1995, activist Maurice Lewis was arrested outside Everywoman’s clinic for carrying pictures of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of unborn children.

The legislation was initially ruled unconstitutional at Lewis’ trail, but the B.C. New Democrats immediately appealed the decision. In October, Justice Mary Saunders overturned the initial decision, ruling that the right to privacy supersedes the restriction of freedom of expression. Lewis and the B.C. pro-life community welcomed a December 13 lecture by Delores Grier, vice-chancellor of the New York archdiocese, and an outspoken critic of abortion. Proceeds from Grier’s address in Vancouver will help offset the legal costs of challenging the bubble zone legislation.