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Friday, June 19, 2009

Bubbling over

It continues to be difficult to be a pro-lifer in B.C. this week, thanks to Canada's Supreme Court.

This afternoon, I ran into the small band of pro-lifers who quietly protest outside Vancouver's abortion clinic, the Everywoman's Health Centre.

UPDATE: See press release about arrests outside the clinic, after I returned to work, in the comments below.

Where is the abortion clinic, you may ask? Apparently it's somewhat of a secret. It's on the south-west corner of Broadway and Commercial Drive, roughly above a bank. But, there are no outdoor signs for the clinic and you basically have to be told by the handful of pro-lifers who periodically gather across the street that that's where it is. It's a "stealth clinic".

The latest news, courtesy Vancouver pro-life activist Sissy von Dehn (whom I met on the way to the bank), is that this week the Supreme Court decided not to hear a challenge to B.C.'s Access to Abortion Services Act . This piece of legislation is why the pro-lifers have to hang out outside the McDonald's across the street from the clinic.

The Act was brought in in 1996 by Colin Gabelmann, the NDP's Attorney-General at the time. (B.C. Report magazine found the legislation so noxious that it ran a cover story on the bill, complete with a Photoshopped cover photo of Mr. Gablemann with the bill as a gag over his mouth.)

Mr. Gabelmann had held meetings with pro-choice activists in the province who feared the chimera of violent pro-life protest in B.C.. Rather than using current legislation about keeping the peace, the NDP then decided that it would ban not only peaceful protest, but anything that could be possibly be seen as a protest against  abortion, in a "bubble zone" around an abortion facility, an abortionist doctor's office, or their residences.

The B.C. Liberals have left this legislation in place.

Even if you concede that this legislation is necessary, as it works out in practice at this Vancouver corner it is unfair to those who might want to do pro-life activity just outside the "bubble zone". There is no outdoor signage allowing pro-lifers to measure exactly where the bubble begins and ends. Should the clinic choose to rent extra space down the hall from their main office for a month or two, the bubble could expand without the public being aware that that happened. (A very minimal move towards fairness to the pro-lifers would be to require that every place wanting protection by the act install prominent outdoor signage that this is the "So and so clinic", or the "office of Dr. So and so". The "bubble zone", to ensure precision and fairness, should then be measured from this outdoor sign.)

Freedom of speech, with the talk of abuses by human rights commissions and such, is becoming an issue for friends of liberty these days. While I don't expect them to be pro-life as I am, I can suggest that banning all forms of pro-life activity here is surely draconian, and certainly something that should be addressed.

This Act is an ominious precedent too. I'd hate to see a future B.C. government think that it can ban other forms of peaceful protest as well, thinking "Well, pro-life activity has been banned in certain parts of B.C. for over 12 years, and no one seems to object. So why not try this...." 

Posted by Rick Hiebert on June 19, 2009 | Permalink


Of course the abortionists have murdered millions of times as many people.

Posted by: GeronL | 2009-06-19 9:01:31 PM

Thank you for posting this Rick. Latest news update is in this press release just sent out by Campaign Life Coalition BC.

VANCOUVER, BC, June 18, 2009– At 1:30pm (PST) this afternoon police arrested two BC residents inside the bubble zone outside the Everywoman’s Health Care abortion facility in downtown Vancouver. Donald Spratt, who just received word yesterday from the Supreme Court of Canada that his appeal against a lower court ruling affirming the bubble zone was dismissed, was arrested along with 73 year old grandmother, Sissy von Dehn, a local representative of Nurses for Life.
A photographer covering the situation was also handcuffed, had his camera confiscated and was put into the paddy wagon for about twenty minutes before being released.
The BC Access to Abortion Services Act forbids any counsel against abortion to be given within 50 meters of an abortion mill. John Hof, President of Campaign Life Coalition BC was on the scene and informs LifeSiteNews.com that those arrested were not counseling against abortion in the bubble zone, but merely informing people of the existence of the bubble zone legislation.
The two arrested carried signs advising passersby of the Bubble Zone and one wore a symbolic piece of tape over his mouth to represent being muzzled by the law. The bubble Zone is not marked in any way so the general public can not possibly know of its existence. “Are they embarrassed and afraid to admit the abortion facility exists?” asked Hof “These two were simply informing the public of the BZ. “For me it would not be a stretch to state that the lack of posting of the BZ information and subsequent arrest of these two could be a form of entrapment” He added.
“This is particularly disconcerting since these same signs have been used inside the BZ before with police attending and no warnings or arrests took place.” Hof said. “Peaceful Pro-lifers have been abiding by suffering under the restriction of this Bubble Zone for more than 14 years. Today’s arrests are a severe escalation by the authorities.”
The latest word is that both arrested today are still in custody and no word from the police as to their condition.
Pro-lifers had on one other occasion stood within the bubble zone distributing material about the law. On that occasion police had refrained from arresting the individuals, since they were not breaking the law against abortion counseling within the zone.
Developing story …Photos available on request.
With thanks to www.Lifesitenews.com

Campaign Life Coalition BC
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.clcbc.org

Posted by: Servant | 2009-06-19 9:20:50 PM

I have just read, or re-read, the "Access to Abortion Act," the BC bubble zone law. It is a piece of legislation that ought to be considered dangerous by all who believe in the basic principles of free speech, but even in this law it is hard to see how informing people of the law can be proved to be counselling against abortion. Our prayers and support should be with these two individuals arrested. I know Sissy. She is a principled and courageous woman. What kind of society do we live in that honours the abortionist and limits the basic freedom of those who would protest against the procedure in which millions of unborn children lose their lives.

Posted by: Ted Hewlett | 2009-06-20 12:07:51 AM

Sorry readers, I had to go back to work and couldn't wait around in case someone was arrested yesterday.

Posted by: Rick Hiebert | 2009-06-20 6:41:59 AM

Good on the cops for arresting busybodies that feel they have the right to decide for others what they can do with their own body. I'm glad the old lady was arrested. I wish more so-cons could be arrested for putting their nose in other people's business.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-06-20 10:33:27 AM

I believe the words you used to describe yourself were "happy and light-hearted," Greenthumb. Yet I have never seen you express a single pleasant thought in any of your posts. Every last one is overflowing with bitterness, spite, and lurid wishes for savage misfortune to strike anyone who does not agree with you.

By the way, isn't the creation of bubble zones where crucial civil liberties are suspended just another way of deciding what the protesters do with their bodies; i.e. where they can put them, and what they can say?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-20 10:46:52 AM

In the article Rick Hiebert states that the location of the Everywoman's Health Centre Clinic is secret. This is deceptive. The address of the clinic is easy to find, it appears in the second hit of a simple Google search for "everywoman's health clinic".

Why lie to exaggerate your point? What other "inaccuracies" would I find in your writing (if I cared enough to read any more of it)?

Posted by: Geordie Birch | 2009-06-20 2:51:07 PM



VANCOUVER, BC, June 20, 2009–

Campaign Life Coalition BC has just learned of the release of the two pro-life demonstrators arrested yesterday at the abortion facility near Broadway and Commercial in Vancouver yesterday. After being led away in handcuffs shortly past noon on Friday June 19, 72 year old grandmother Sissy Von Dehn and 58 Year old Donald Spratt, spent 24 hours in the downtown east-side Vancouver jail. They were released shortly after 1 PM today on a promise to appear for a hearing on the charge of alleged breach of the Bubble Zone Sec. 21.b.

Both Von Dehn and Spratt signed an undertaking to remain away from the 2500 block Commercial Drive area and the adjacent alleyways and to appear in BC Provincial Court on Friday July 3 at 2 PM.

Upon her release Sissy Von Dehn commented that she was disappointed with her treatment at the hands of the Vancouver Police Department. At no time during her incarceration was she able to make a hone call. She three times tried to use a phone made available, but it did not work. When she asked about that the officer simply replied “that happens sometimes.” Her family had no way of knowing her status as all inquiries to the police led others to believe she would be making a call. “I guess there is no guarantee of your one phone call after all” she added.

Von Dehn also commented how surprised she was that she had been arrested at all. “Police assured me on two occasions that carrying these same Bubble Zone notice signs was within our rights and in no infringed on the Bubble Zone legislation. It was quite a shock to be hauled off to jail for notifying passersby of a BC law.”

At present we have had no contact with the other person arrested with Von Dehn and will update everyone when we do.

Still Photos of the arrest available.

John Hof, president

Campaign Life Coalition BC

Langley, BC V3A 9J5

Posted by: Servant | 2009-06-20 4:13:18 PM

Comments to Greenthumb You should know that the cops were not actually that happy arresting this "old lady" They are also probably not that happy arresting people at the baby killing center at all, regardless of their age. They also more than likely realize the people they should be arresting are the ones doing the killing. But hey the world wants to screw around with definitions of right and wrong and they are "just doing their jobs" I guess. Your attitude is a bit unnerving and I think Mr. Matthews hit the nail on the head when he said. "creation of bubble zones where crucial civil liberties are suspended just another way of deciding what the protesters do with their bodies;"

As for Geordie Birch, all I can say is the location is not a secret. I can't think of any business location that would want their location kept secret. What is kept under wraps is the fact that the business is actually protected by an invisible bubble zone. That part should really be posted at or near the location so those opposed to abortion sitting at the Starbucks near the front door, don't get unwittingly caught discussing this rather hot political subject while sipping on their latte's.

Posted by: Servant | 2009-06-20 4:24:05 PM

All they were doing was informing people of the Bubble Zone Law

Posted by: Anonymous | 2009-06-22 10:59:02 AM

As for arresting busybodies...I believe that more good people need to join the Friday Folks and protest the BZ "laws" (sic). More good and courageous people need to do what Von Dehn and Spratt did...put themselves in the gap for the freedom to denounce the atrocity that is going on in that location. Freedom of speech is an explicit right under the Charter, privacy is not!!!
As for that abortuary and what goes on inside that building...it remians deliberately hidden to a large extent by the lack of signage and the non descript store front. Imagine some sign or huge "golden arches" that indicate "Over 250,000 killed here".

Posted by: Robin | 2009-06-22 11:22:06 AM

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