Public debate

A recent Supreme Court of Canada decision may have ramifications for the 18 Ontario pro-life activists who have been named in an injunction to ban pickets in front of hospitals, abortuaries and abortionists’ homes.  Canada’s top court has ruled that the city of Peterborough could not stop Kenneth Ramsden from putting up posters in prohibited areas.  The city had argued that the ban was necessary to keep the appearance of the city and it argued Section 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which allows certain rights to be infringed where justified.  Ramsden’s lawyer, Peter Jervis, said that this judgment guaranteed that there would be “a public forum for public debate in our public places.”  Jervis, who is also representing nine of the pro-lifers named in the Ontario injunction, might use the Peterborough judgment to build on.

Long waits

A new medical study reveals some startling news for cancer patients.  The study disclosed that many cancer patients stay on radiation treatment waiting lists so long that their cancer often becomes incurable.  Dr. William Mackillop, head of radiation oncology for the Kingston Regional Cancer Centre, claimed that patients were waiting for treatment a month or more longer in 1991 than they were in 1982.  He pointed to one study which showed that in Kingston, the average wait for prostate cancer was 103 days.  The study also illustrated that those who wait longest for treatment live in major centres such as Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton.  Mackillop painted a very bleak picture saying there was a “real barrier in access” and an “acute shortage of resources” for Ontario cancer sufferers.  Why is it that in Ontario we hear so much about increasing abortion access but nothing about increasing access to valid areas such as cancer care?  Is the one being done at the expense of the other?

Zapping sex and violence

An engineer from Simon Fraser University has come up with an invention which will save parents time and headaches.  This enigmatically named device, VyouControl, will one day allow parents to block out television shows that are excessively violent or contain sex or bad language.  When attached to your T.V., this box would be capable of blocking out or scrambling programmes deemed unsuitable in an as yet undetermined rating system.  The Canadian Cable Television Association and several family groups have endorsed the idea.  These groups are hopeful because the censorship will be voluntary and not imposed which should appease those who cry freedom-of-speech at every turn.  What remains to be seen is who will determine which shows receive which ratings and whether parents will be able to trust these ratings.  Look for the CRTC, the CBC and others in the entertainment industry to put up a huge fight.

P.A.S.

According to a recent study, at least 5 million U.S. women have suffered from post-abortion trauma.  This has been described as a post-traumatic stress disorder which can manifest itself in the form of flashbacks, anxiety attacks, exaggerated responses, relationship problems and destructive habits such as increased smoking, drug and alcohol abuse and suicidal behaviour.  Many researchers have avoided extensive study into this area because of its political touchiness and because the very existence of it puts abortion in a bad light.  Catherine Barnard, a California psychologist who treats post-abortion victims, believes that up to 20% or 5 million women who have had abortions suffer from the syndrome.