Date: 11-07-94 15:07 (Public)
From: Ian Hebert
To: Judith Bandsma
Subject: WOMEN'S CLINICS
JB> Yesterday I went to the clinic I have used for several years for my
JB> yearly gynecological exam and pap smear. It is a 'women's' clinic that
JB> also provides abortions. For the first time I was accosted by picketers.
JB> At first I was merely amused as anyone looking at me should be able to
JB> tell that I am beyond child bearing years. But I got the standard 'talk
JB> to us first', 'you don't want to kill your baby', 'it doesn't matter how
JB> old you are or what the chances of having a deformed baby, it has a
JB> right to live'.
JB> I (rather politely) laughed at one 'gentleman' who was trying to keep me
JB> out of the clinic and explained that I was only there for a pap smear.
JB> I was then called a liar, a murderer, and a few of the things we only
JB> call the dipshit fundies here.
Presumptious little shits, aren't they? I find it disgusting that you
even have to reveal your business to them to attempt to get them to
leave you alone. A further example of the finest flower of
JB> It didn't stop me from having the tests done, but I was either followed
JB> home or someone has access to records from the clinic. The notes are not
JB> very nice that have been left on my house and the phone calls are even
JB> more annoying. So far I have taped 3 messages and they will go to the
JB> police on Monday when the detective assigned to 'stalking' cases is in
JB> the office. (That is how this is viewed here).
I'll bet you were probably followed. Let us know how the police handle
FWIW, here in Canada, abortion was de-criminalized in 1988. When the
Conservatives were in power under Prime Minister Mulroney, they attemped
to re-criminialize abortion, but public sentiment forced them to back
off. While abortion is still legal, several provincial governments have
attempted to cut the Medicare funding to free-standing abortion clinics;
they have tried to restrict abortions only to public hospitals. (To get
an abortion in a public hospital you have to go to a committee and jump
through their hoops. Most of the time this is set up so that you won't
get your abortion.)
Dr. Morgentaler has successfully fought this funding restriction in
court numerous times; each time the courts have found in his favour, and
ruled that the provinces must pay for services provided in free-standing
clinics, the same as they do for services provided in hospitals.
In a recent press conference, pro-choice activist Dr. Henry Morgentaler
declared "Victory" in the abortion battle, as he opened his eighth (and
final) free-standing abortion clinic. There are now free-standing
abortion clinics in all but two of the ten provinces. He stated that
there are still some battles to be won, but that he feels that the fight
for womens' rights to control their own reproduction is all but over.
Dr. Morgentaler has spearheaded the fight for abortion rights for over
25 years--he has gone to jail twice at the beginning, and there has
hardly been a year when he has not been in court litigating on this
issue. It was due to his efforts that the Supreme Court of Canada
struck down the abortion sections of the Criminal Code in 1988, and as
I've stated earlier, it has never been re-introduced.
Finally, in Ontario, Solicitor-General Marion Boyd successfully requested
the courts to grant a province-wide injunction against pro-life
picketers who attempt to block abortion clinics. Protesterss must
remain at a specified distance (something between 20-40m if memory
serves) and they are subject to arrest if they approach closer than that
to the clinic.
A good friend of mine, who is a pro-lifer (although not a rabid one)
told me about a friend of his who is a teacher in the Ontario Catholic
School system. It seems that she was picketing in front of a clinic,
and was arrested for refusing to move on as instructed. She has been
charged with violating the injunction, and refusing to follow the orders
of a peace officer. She has told my friend that she's heard that others
convicted on the same charges have drawn four months in jail, even for a
London, Ontario, Canada RIME: HOMEBASE Fido: 1:2401/114
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