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a publication of BC's Pro-Choice Action Network
Winter 96/97 Issue
Table of Contents
Caught in the Anti's Trap
On November 19, two anti-choice women, Cecilia von Dehn and Peggy Holland, tried to gain entrance to a planning meeting for International Women's Day (March 8, 1997), held at the offices of the Vancouver Status of Women. Von Dehn was the same woman who set up an information table at last year's IWD event under false pretences, disrupting the event and angering many of the women in attendance. She and Holland belong to an anti-choice group called PRICE (Patients' Rights, Informed Consent, Ethics). Von Dehn owns the house next door to Everywoman's Health Centre, from which she stages regular prayer vigils and protests.
At the meeting, von Dehn was immediately recognized by representatives of the BC Coalition for Abortion Clinics. She and her cohort were quickly denied entrance to the meeting room. After refusing to leave, the women remained in an outer room, and proceeded to photograph the more than 30 meeting attendees through an adjoining window. While this was happening, the IWD committee passed a unanimous motion that would require all IWD participants to support the pro-choice position. The meeting attendees agreed that reproductive rights and the right to abortion are an integral part of the women's rights movement, and that we could not allow anti-choice groups to subvert or counteract this basic stance.
Since the IWD committee was using space loaned by the Vancouver Status of Women, and no VSW staff member was present, there was a brief debate over the advisability of calling the police to oust the anti-choice women from what were the private offices of VSW. Staff from VSW were then called and asked to come to the office to help deal with the situation. When they arrived a few minutes later, they called the police on our behalf. Unfortunately, however, the police never came in spite of being called twice. When the meeting was adjourned less than an hour later, we had to call the police back a third time to cancel the request.
During the meeting, many of the attendees expressed concern about the presence of the anti-choice, especially since von Dehn was taking pictures of them and trying to tape record the meeting through the door. After considerable discussion, the attendees voted, by a narrow margin, to cancel and reschedule the meeting. As the women filed out of the meeting room, von Dehn continued to photograph them. The last IWD committee members to leave, feeling threatened by von Dehn's actions, tried to wrest the camera from her out in the hallway, but failed after a brief physical struggle. As a result, von Dehn and Holland, under the auspices of REAL Women, have threatened to file assault charges against the IWD women.
The actions of the police in this situation were regrettable, since if they had come when they were first called, this reaction on the part of a few IWD women could have been avoided. Because of the police's blatant refusal to take our request for help seriously, the level of fear and disruption rose to such a degree that the IWD attendees were intimidated into canceling the meeting and some were provoked into defending themselves against the outrageous intrusion of having their pictures taken for unknown purposes. Ironically, when the anti-choice women called the police to file a report, the police came soon enough. As a final insult, the pictures that von Dehn took of all the attendees are now being used against us in a police investigation.
REAL Women issued an irresponsible press release, titled "Zero Tolerance, Feminist-Style," which accused the Vancouver Status of Women of violence against the REAL Women members. (It should be noted that VSW is not associated with the IWD committee, is not contributing any funding to it, and was not involved with the incident, except for the initial call to the police on our behalf. Also, the IWD committee, which is run by volunteers, relies solely on private donations to fund IWD events.) The only media that picked up REAL Women's press release was BC Report, a Christian news magazine. Its one-page story on the incident was sympathetic to von Dehn, referring to her as a "60-year old grandmother". . . "manhandled by feminists." In spite of VSW's non-involvement, von Dehn accused the VSW of intolerance and asked why it receives government funding to promote intolerance and violence.
The article mentioned that von Dehn decided to take pictures to prove to Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre MP and federal Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women) that she was being shut out of a "publicly-funded" meeting. This begs the question of why she brought a camera (and tape recorder!) to the meeting in the first place. Given what happened at last year's IWD event, there is no doubt that von Dehn knew she was not wanted and would not be allowed to participate. It's also obvious that her intention of setting up an information table for IWD has nothing to do with helping women. It's simply another way of doing what she does best—intimidating, harassing, and provoking those who support reproductive rights. Unfortunately, in this instance, she succeeded all too well. The alleged "assault" on her, although provoked by von Dehn herself, is the sort of publicity that the women's rights movement doesn't need, but it's exactly what von Dehn and her ilk hope for.
This year, the BCCAC has a commitment from the IWD committee that they will not allow the presence of anti-choice individuals at the IWD event. Professional security guards will be hired to prevent this occurrence, and if the anti-choice show up, the police will be called immediately.
Thanks for Your Letters!
Dear Editor: Preston Manning's move to ban abortion even caused by rape or incest, combined with his advocacy of lowering immigration rates, attacks poor women and the environment. He says in effect we must deny women choice on abortion, which will lead to problems for women such as: danger to health because of unsafe abortions, careers threatened because bosses can't rely on women to not be mothers, careers destroyed because motherhood intervenes, and poorly brought up children because they are unwanted. Such a ban would only affect poor women because the rich will be able to find a doctor if the price is right—ban or no ban.
Manning defends this by calling it a moral issue. I agree with people such as Paul Ehrlich and David Suzuki who say that population explosion must be stopped to save the environment. Choice on abortion is a necessary backup when contraception fails, to anyone concerned about population growth.
The environment is under threat as never before in human history by a combination of population explosion and increased human ability to destroy the environment because of the Industrial Revolution. This is the ultimate moral issue.
Manning also advocates lower levels of immigration than the Liberals. People arriving as unwanted children of Canadians are good, but people wanting to come here as immigrants are bad. The simplest way to explain this combination of policies is racism.
— Ken McLean, Lower Mainland Sustainable Population Society
Dear folks: I'd like to join your organization. Preston Manning's pointed remarks about "rights for the unborn" concern me. I am more than ten years a Christian, a liberal Christian.
Regarding your article on reproductive technology legislation (latest edition of your newsletter), I beg to disagree with your suggestion that banning monetary transactions in surrogate motherhood would lead to the door being slammed on infertile women. Such a notion appears to me to smack of someone's overblown attempt to secure money, hence, power, for surrogate mothers. Sperm, eggs, and babies are not goods to be sold to the highest bidder. If I were to become a surrogate mother, I would have no problem doing it for free—in the ministry of the Lord.
— Wendy Feilden
The following letter was sent by the BCCAC to the Vancouver Sun just after Remembrance Day. It was never printed.
SFU students returning to class on Nov. 12 were treated to a startling display of tiny white crosses planted prominently next to the main entrance. A commemorative for the war dead? No! The accompanying sign said, "Remember the unborn." The exploitation of Remembrance Day by an anti-choice minority is an insult to those who laid down their lives during war. It is an even greater insult to the hundreds of thousands of women around the world who are killed or injured each year from unsafe abortions, and to those abortion providers murdered and maimed by anti-choice individuals.
Now Preston Manning wants to increase this shameful carnage by enshrining fetal rights in the constitution. Taking a strikingly risky political chance, he suggested that those who would vote for a ban on abortion are "deeply value-driven people," insinuating that the "others," i.e., those who believe that women have the right to control their reproductive lives, are value-less. Not to worry though, Manning would make sure that with a referendum on the issue, "nothing's going to be rammed down their throats." (Except of course, a complete ban on abortion!)
Last week, an anti-choice coalition announced its appeal of the recent court decision that restored the Access to Abortion Services Act (the bubble zones around clinics and providers' homes). The sole purpose of the Act is to protect providers and clients of abortions services from anti-choice violence and harassment. But apparently, the anti-choice feel it is their right and ethical duty to besiege, intimidate, and threaten women as they enter a health facility for a legal medical procedure.
The so-called ethic of these "deeply value-driven" people speaks volumes for itself.
Please Write In Support of Medical Abortions!
The BCCAC would like to ask its members and supporters to write letters to Federal Health Minister David Dingwall and Provincial Health Minister Joy McPhail, asking them to speed the approval of RU-486 in Canada and BC. Here are some sample letters you can use (no postage necessary for letters to the federal government):
Attn: David Dingwall, Federal Minister of Health, #325 E Block, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6
Dear Honourable David Dingwall:
I'm writing this letter to urge you to speed the approval of RU-486 in Canada. Access to this important drug will enable Canadian women to terminate unwanted pregnancies at an earlier stage, thereby reducing the psychological distress of having to wait longer for a surgical abortion, and reducing the risk of physical complications that can result from surgical procedures.
Availability of RU-486 would greatly improve access to abortion. Currently, only women who live in major Canadian cities are adequately served by abortion services. Since RU-486 can be prescribed and administered by family doctors, women in rural and remote regions would have access to this abortion method. Although RU-486 can never replace surgical abortions, its availability would obviously reduce the number of surgical abortions performed in Canada. This means fewer resources will need to be expended by the medical system, and costs may decrease.
RU-486 has been proven to be a safe and highly effective abortifacent in Europe, where it has become the method of choice for many European women. We ask you to please extend to Canadian women the same right to choose, not only whether to have an abortion, but by what means.
Attn: Joy McPhail, Provincial Minister of Health, 1515 Blanshard St., Victoria, BC, V8W 3C8
Dear Honourable Joy McPhail:
I'm writing this letter to urge you to speed the approval of RU-486 in BC. Access to this important drug will enable BC women to terminate unwanted pregnancies at an earlier stage, thereby reducing the psychological distress of having to wait longer for a surgical abortion, and reducing the risk of physical complications that can result from surgical procedures. RU-486 has been proven to be a safe and highly effective abortifacent in Europe, where it has become the method of choice for many European women.
Availability of RU-486 would greatly improve access to abortion. Currently, only women who live in the Lower Mainland are adequately served by abortion services. Since RU-486 can be prescribed and administered by family doctors, women all over BC would have access to this abortion method. Although RU-486 can never replace surgical abortions, its availability would obviously reduce the number of surgical abortions performed in BC. This means fewer resources will need to be expended by the medical system, and costs may decrease.
In the meantime, please provide for the funding of methotrexate abortions in BC. Currently, there are no medical standards in place for performing this procedure, even though a few doctors have undertaken to provide it. Methotrexate abortions need to be included as a billable item for doctors under the BC Medical Plan.
Manning Puts Foot in Mouth
Reform party leader Preston Manning assured some "pro-lifers" in November that if he ever becomes Prime Minister, he will force a referendum on the issue of abortion, in an effort to put abortion back into the Criminal Code (see our letter to the editor in this issue). We are sort of glad that Manning has shown his true right-wing colours in public, since his foot-in-mouth announcement makes it far less likely that the mainly pro-choice citizens of Canada will ever elect him as Prime Minister. (Whew!)
Parker Appeal Requested
As reported in the Autumn 1996 issue of Pro-Choice Press, Delta Police Constable Steven Parker was charged in September with six new charges of discreditable conduct, for illicitly searching the licence plate numbers of staff and patients at the Everywoman's Health Centre (EHC). At a public inquiry hearing in June, Parker had been given a 5-day suspended sentence for searching six licence plates. It was only afterwards that an additional six searches were uncovered. The Delta Police is conducting an internal inquiry into these latest searches, which has been postponed by them until later in the new year.
Marg Panton and Will Offley, (former employee and former volunteer Security Coordinator, respectively, of EHC) have filed a leave to appeal the public inquiry board's June decision. The appeal request, made in front of the BC Police Commission, submits that neither the original Delta Police investigation nor the subsequent public inquiry was thorough or fair. The Commission's decision on whether to allow the appeal will be announced sometime within the next two months.
Panton and Offley have asked the Commission to launch a full investigation into the scope and ramifications of Parker's actions, including:
- all known illicit computer searches conducted by Parker
- incidents where licence plates may have been illicitly searched by anyone other than Parker
- serious discrepancies in Parker's mother's testimony at the public inquiry
Some of the main contentions that Panton and Offley put forward in their request are:
Excluded evidence and unfollowed leads: Numerous examples show that the Delta Police investigation was "riddled with unexplored leads, unresolved discrepancies, lines of investigation that went unexplored, and loose ends." For instance, other illicit searches have been conducted by unknown parties, as well as by Parker himself, but there was no investigation to determine if they could be linked to Parker or to his stated motivation of alleviating his mother's fear for her safety. Also, the Delta Police obtained a list of over 3000 licence plate searches conducted by Parker, ostensibly as part of his job, but made no attempt to cross-check the list against names of Vancouver abortion providers and clinic staff considered to be at high risk. Other examples abound.
Bias and lack of fairness: The investigating Delta Police officer, Inspector Harden, was Parker's immediate superior less than a month before the investigation was launched. This fact was withheld during the investigation and ensuing inquiry. Harden's testimony during the inquiry also indicated he did not carry out an objective and critical examination of the evidence, and indeed, gave Parker and his mother the benefit of the doubt. One particularly disturbing example has only recently come to light. The inquiry board was under the impression that Parker's penalty could not be a demotion, because he was already at the lowest possible rank. However, it has now been confirmed that Parker's rank at the time of the inquiry was Constable Second Class. It appears that the Delta Police were negligent in failing to fully inform the board of its penalty options, since Parker could have been demoted to Constable Third Class, rather than given a 5-day suspension. (Unbelievably, Parker has since received a promotion to Constable First Class.)
Discredit to the force: As became evident from police testimony during the public inquiry, the major concern of the Delta Police during this whole affair seemed to be the protection of its own reputation and that of its members. The fact that Parker broke the law to obtain confidential information that could be used to invade people's privacy and endanger their lives was apparently a secondary concern.
Evidence ignored at inquiry: The inquiry board's report completely ignored Panton's and Offley's requests and rationale for a fuller investigation and failed to take into account their compelling evidence of the inadequacy of the Delta Police's investigation.
An indefensible alibi: Parker's alibi throughout the case has been that his mother, Anita Parker, took down licence plate numbers of cars whose occupants appeared threatening to her. However, Mrs. Parker's credibility was entirely destroyed during the public inquiry, since she was away in Ireland when at least one of the cars searched was at the clinic. There were countless other serious discrepancies in her testimony as well, and taken together, they soundly refuted Parker's alibi. The inquiry board largely accepted this alibi, however, and did not adequately investigate the discrepancies. But without this alibi, the only alternative explanation for Parker's illicit searches is that they were part of an organized campaign to learn the identities and home addresses of abortion providers in order to intimidate and harass them.
Thanks goes out to the Kelowna & District Pro-Choice Action Society, who sent a strongly worded letter to Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh regarding the Constable Steve Parker case. The society stated in its letter that "The public confidence is severely shaken when situations such as this are not taken seriously. We are left wondering why this individual is still retained as a law enforcement officer when he clearly and repeatedly has abused his position of authority." The society urged the A-G to launch a broad investigation into the surveillance and harassment of abortion-clinic workers, as well as further investigation to determine whether Parker disseminated any of the information he retrieved.
1997 Begins with Violence in America
by Adam Guasch-Melendez (reprinted from The Abortion Rights Activist)
On the afternoon of January 1, 1997, the Reproductive Services clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma was the site of a firebombing attempt. A "Molotov cocktail" was thrown through a rear window and caused damage to a lounge and kitchen area; a second firebomb started a small fire outside the building.
The clinic has been the site of numerous attacks in the past, but has been relatively free of destructive attacks in the last two years. The clinic was open for business on Thursday, January 2.
This attack comes at a time of increased activity among the extremists in the anti-choice movement. Although there have been no other incidents of arson reported since a string of four attacks this past summer, there has been a resurgence of blockades and other direct-action tactics in recent months. On December 7, 1996, members of the Lambs of Christ, including their leader, Norman Weslin, blockaded a Planned Parenthood clinic in Rochester, NY. Several people were chained to the engine block of a car in front of the clinic entrance; others were reportedly chained to some other heavy object. This is the latest in a series of similar incidents in the last few months.
Further activity is expected later in January. Several anti-choice organizations, including Operation Rescue National, Operation Rescue West, the Christian Defense Coalition, Collegians Activated to Liberate Life, and the American Coalition of Life Activists, are converging on the Washington, DC metropolitan area January 17-22, a period that covers both the Clinton Inauguration (Jan. 20) and the 24th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision (Jan. 22). Some of these groups have specifically announced plans to blockade clinics during their stay in DC. In addition to blockades, other planned activities include:
- the display of gory fetus photographs along the Inaugural parade route, for the benefit of the estimated 2-3 billion people who will be watching worldwide
- setting up 4400 white crosses on the grounds of the Washington Monument, with a banner identifying the scene as the "aborted children of Hillary's village"
- the second annual "White Rose" banquet in honor of people in prison for anti-abortion violence
- and possibly some non-blockade activity at local clinics
In addition to the DC events, a group calling itself Christians Rescuing Infant Babies (CRIB) is planning a blockade at a New Jersey clinic on Inauguration day. CRIB's goal is to "gradually bring the Rescue Movement back to the level it reached a few years ago." CRIB describes itself as a coalition of "pro-life" leaders and groups, and claims to be an "'organization' without organization, a 'non-entity' that doesn't really exist, yet can accomplish Rescues."
Note: Visit The Abortion Rights Activist at http://www.cais.com/agm
Contraceptive Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights For Contraceptive Research, Development, and Use is a 20-page booklet that incorporates a feminist perspective into the existing ethical guidelines that direct research, development, and distribution of contraceptives. Prepared by the ad hoc Canadian Women's Committee on Population and Development (CWC), based in Ottawa, the bill is a policy document intended to influence national and international reproductive health policy to make it more accountable and relevant to women's lives.
The Bill of Rights is a product of many years' work and was developed in consultation with women and women's health organizations. In recent years, there has been an increased emphasis placed on women's reproductive rights, which often translates into promoting fertility reduction through the use of dangerous contraceptives and sterilization programs, rather than meeting women's health needs. The CWC believes that adoption of the guidelines contained in the Bill of Rights would lead to safer, more effective, and accessible forms of contraception in the context of integrated health programs for women. The Bill sets out ethical principles and guidelines related to reproductive rights and health services, including access to safe abortion services.
A free copy of the Bill of Rights can be obtained by writing the CWC at 58 Arthur Street, Ottawa, ON, K1R 7B9 (tel: 613-563-4801; fax: 613-594-4704).
Charges Dismissed Against Drummond
In the controversial case of Brenda Drummond, the woman who pointed a pellet gun into her vagina and shot her near-term fetus in the brain, charges of attempted murder were dropped on Dec. 23.
Drummond's lawyer won the battle mainly because attempted murder applies only to human beings, and under Canadian law, a fetus is not a human being. Judge Inger Hansen suggested that many observers might think there is something immoral about shooting a near-term fetus, but she stressed that the court is not required to deal with questions of morality. Rather, the decision before her was whether or not it was against the law. Hansen decided it was not and indicated that it is up to politicians and not the courts to remedy any gap in the law.
Drummond still faces one last charge—that of failing to provide the necessities of life to the baby she shot. The charge alleges that Drummond broke the law by not telling doctors that the infant had a serious wound to his head. The baby was close to death by the time surgeons discovered and removed the pellet, nearly four days after he was born. It is not yet known if the infant has suffered permanent brain damage.
We don't know the reasons for Drummond's desperate actions, and our sympathy goes out to the injured infant; however, the idea of the legislature once again approaching the question of fetal rights strikes us as a possible warning sign of bad things to come. How do we prevent women from harming their late-term fetuses, yet at the same time, ensure they have full rights to terminate their pregnancies? Where do we draw the line? Do we prosecute only if the woman uses a lethal weapon like a gun, or do we extend the law to encompass anything that might harm the fetus, including cigarettes or alcohol? Obviously, there are serious and unwanted implications to the issue of introducing legislation on fetal rights (and with it, abortion). Perhaps, given that incidents like the Drummond shooting are extremely rare, it is best to do nothing at all. After all, how many women over the last nine years have taken advantage of the absence of laws against abortion and tried to perform dangerous third-trimester "abortions" on themselves? We suspect the number is extremely low and that any woman desperate enough to do this needs support and compassion more than she needs a jail sentence.
Remembering Violence Against Women
On December 6th, several different gatherings were held in the Lower Mainland to commemorate the anniversary of the Montreal massacre, to remember all women who have died as a result of violence, and to recognize the ceaseless work of women in the struggle to end violence. One such gathering was organized by FREDA (Feminist Research Education Development & Action Centre) at the downtown SFU campus. A representative from the BCCAC attended and offered the following short speech:
"When we think of violence against women, we think most often of abusive partners, or of isolated murderers like the man responsible for the Montreal massacre. But violence against women takes many forms and the ongoing world war against reproductive rights is one of them.
"There are many people, both women and men, who are willing to risk their lives to provide women with an often desperately needed medical service—abortion. Some doctors who perform abortions and some abortion clinic staff and volunteers have died violent deaths or suffered serious injury, all because they dared to help women. A fanatical anti-choice minority, in their self-righteous zeal, have resorted to this extreme violence, this terrorism, in order to put women in their place, and to return society to their perverted ideal of a so-called just society: one that is ruled by patriarchy and Biblical law.
"The anti-choice profess a concern for the value and sanctity of life, but unfortunately, that concern does not extend to women. Around the globe, every year, hundreds of thousands of women die or are injured as a result of illegal abortions. Many poor women are forced to bear a large number of children because they have no access to contraception, education, or abortion. This becomes a form of violence, not only against women, but against everyone, because it shortens and endangers women's lives; subjects their children to poverty, malnutrition, and early deaths; and weakens the society they all live in.
"Please take a moment to think about the dangerous and violent effects that anti-abortion laws have on women, and their families. Remember those who work on the front lines of the abortion rights movement, who daily risk violence on behalf of women. Remember the countless women who have been killed or injured from illegal abortions. We must no longer allow fanatical minorities and right-wing lawmakers to turn women into victims of violence simply because they want to protect their families and maintain a life worth living."
Watson Loves Waddell
Convicted criminal and anti-choice activist Gordon Watson recently (and unsuccessfully) tried to keep an American pastor from being extradited to the U.S. for weapons offences. Allan Waddell was arrested in Golden in 1992 and in November, was ordered back to the U.S. by the Supreme Court of Canada and the federal justice department. Waddell, who has dual citizenship, was convicted of several U.S. firearms and tax-evasion charges in 1985 (including possession of silent sub-machine guns). He fled to Canada, where he remained in hiding for seven years before getting caught. U.S. officials have linked Waddell to a violent white-supremacist organization.
Before the extradition, Watson said, "I have to do everything I can to save him because I really believe his life is in danger." He claimed that if Waddell was removed from Canada, it would be a "very clear case of conspiracy to subvert justice." Watson then threatened to lay "informations" against everybody involved if Waddell was extradited.
This incident brings to mind the possibility that Watson, a well-known violent offender in the local anti-choice community, has links to dangerous right-wing Christian militia groups in the United States. Watson will also be appearing in court this week (January 7/8) on charges of uttering threats against a staffer from Elizabeth Bagshaw Women's Clinic.
Catholic Extremist in Vancouver
by Will Offley
Dr. Dolores Grier spoke at the PNE on December 13 as the invited guest speaker of the Catholic Civil Rights League. She appeared on the same platform as Archbishop Adam Exner of the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. The event, which attracted 1300 people, was a fundraiser for the Church's appeal of the Access to Abortion Services Act. Grier has spoken in Canada at least once before. On June 7, 1992, she addressed a meeting in Toronto organized by Campaign Life Coalition, in which she "exposed the race genocide agenda of the abortion movement", according to the report carried in the CLC newspaper the following month.
Dr. Grier is founder of Black Catholics Against Abortion. She is also Vice-Chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. For years, New York Archbishop John O'Connor has been an extremely influential and active figure in the leadership of the U.S. anti-choice movement. His assistant, Auxiliary Bishop Austin Vaughan, spent over four years in Operation Rescue, and has been jailed for clinic blockades. Vaughan took part in a picket of Everywoman's Health Centre in November 1992. Shortly after this visit, regular picketing of the clinic was re-organized.
The following quotations from interviews with Dr. Grier in the December 1st and December 8th issues of B.C. Catholic will give a fuller idea of the political beliefs held by a speaker whose agenda extends far beyond simply religious issues:
On women and the priesthood: "When I was on television during the time the Pope was here [in the U.S.], the host asked me, as the highest woman in the Church in the north east, 'How do you feel about a woman not having the same opportunity as a man to be a priest? What do you say to the woman who wants to baptize babies and bury the dead?' I replied, 'I say to that woman, If you can't follow the teachings of the Church, we're going to miss you.'" [B.C. Catholic, Dec.1]
On church discipline: "If your child enrolled in the army tomorrow, he'd do everything the staff-sergeant told him to do. That's the army. This is the Church. You follow the rules. You obey them whether you like them or not. That's the way it has to be. We've got to have that kind of love for the Church, and there can be no compromise." [BCC, Dec.1]
On separation of church and state: "To all those politicians and other people who say there should be a separation between state and church, I say it's a con game: don't use it on me. If you're a Christian, you're a Christian. You've got to run the state, and you can run it in justice only if you're attached to the Church." [BCC, Dec.1]
On America in the year 2000: "If the Christians stand up, it will look more Christian. If the Christians don't stand up, the devil's disciples will take over. It's as simple as that." [BCC, Dec.1]
On abortion: "When a woman has committed the sin of abortion (and it is a sin, a mortal sin) God says to her, if she seeks His forgiveness, 'Go, and sin no more.' Be compassionate. If you can, prevent the woman from having that abortion." [BCC, Dec.8]
On choice: "We have to take into consideration that a woman doesn't become pregnant accidentally. She says yes. She makes the choice. She should have a choice. She makes it the moment she says yes to sex. After that, she should be ready to accept responsibility for her behavior." [BCC, Dec.8]
On the abortion "industry": "People don't understand what a money-making industry abortion is. Young black girls are paid to abort their babies up to six months. Yesterday we were slaves. Today we are fetal parts." [The Interim, Campaign Life newspaper, July, 1992]
On contraceptives: "Contraceptives are being taught through the pro-abortion media to young people, the people in crises. The media are treating this as a way of life. It's not a way of life: it's a way of death." [BCC, Dec.8]
On the role of women: "Everybody in the family has a role. Even the angels know and respect them. Woman, take your role and be proud to be a woman. Be proud to be a vessel of life. Be proud to be the one who nurtures.... All those around Jesus when he died were women; they were strong, full of love and nurturing. They cared. That's woman's role. Accept your role, and be what you are: a loving, caring woman." [BCC, Dec.8]
On black women: "My people have survived lynching, whipping and bombing, and you're going to tell me that a black woman can't survive a nine month pregnancy and care for her children? Who made that decision? Society made that decision." [The Interim, July, 1992]
The Catholic Civil Rights League holds to a set of strongly right-wing tenets, which include: "We affirm the traditional family to be the only secure basis on which a society can be built. We acknowledge parents to have primary responsibility for the education of their children. We work for the protection of all human life from conception to natural death."
Access to Abortion Services Act
In November, lawyers for Maurice Lewis announced their intention to appeal to the BC Supreme Court the recent court decision by Justice Mary Saunders that restored the Access to Abortion Services Act and declared it constitutional. The pro-choice coalition is now gearing up to defend, once again, women's right to privacy and dignity when entering an abortion clinic, and the right of abortion providers to enjoy privacy around their homes and offices. The pro-choice coalition consists of representatives from LEAF (Women's Legal Education Action Fund), Everywoman's Health Centre, the BC Coalition for Abortion Clinics, Elizabeth Bagshaw Women's Clinic, and BC Women's Hospital C.A.R.E. Program.
LEAF previously donated some funds to cover the cost of the last appeal, but now more funds are needed to continue the fight. Read the letter enclosed with your newsletter, then, please, send what you can to help out with this vital endeavour!
Salvi Commits Suicide
In December, John Salvi, the anti-choice fanatic who killed two people and wounded five others in a shooting spree at two Boston area abortion clinics in December 1994, committed suicide. Salvi apparently asphyxiated himself by placing a plastic bag over his head. He was found dead in his cell at a maximum security prison in Massachusetts.
Salvi had actually requested the death penalty at his trial, but did not get his wish. It appears that in the end, he decided to impose it on himself.
Romalis Appointed to Council
We would like to congratulate Dr. Garson Romalis, who was recently appointed to the Judicial Council of the Court, a body that interviews potential judges for the provincial court. Romalis is a Vancouver gynecologist who was shot in his home two years ago by a probable "pro-lifer." As one of four laypersons on the nine-member council, Romalis will consider proposed order-in-council appointments for judges, justices of the peace, and court referees, such as traffic judges.
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