By Hilary White

OTTAWA, December 5, 2007 ( – One of Canada’s most prominent journalistic abortion advocates, Heather Mallick, has accused the wives of Ottawa Senators hockey stars of “bullying” pregnant women. She also accused a crisis pregnancy counselling service of being “sinister” for its connections with a Christian church.

But the “bullying” by the wives consists of forming a charitable organisation called “The Better Halves” to raise funds by raffling Christmas trees. Mallick’s objection is that one of the charity’s beneficiaries is a peer counselling centre that tries to offer women alternatives to abortion and support during unexpected pregnancy.

First Place Pregnancy Centre of Ottawa also offers counselling for women and girls suffering post-abortion “stress”, a consequence of abortion most feminists like Mallick deny exists.

Mallick denounces the First Place as “an Ottawa anti-abortion group run by Pentecostal Christians.” Mallick warns darkly that First Place is attempting to hide its purpose. “They take great care to look like kindly counselling centres. In fact, they exist solely to prevent abortion.”

Mallick complains that through the Senators’ charitable arm, the Sens Foundation, the effort is being publicly subsidised. Without a trace of irony, and writing on the CBC, Canada’s hugely tax-funded broadcaster, Mallick writes, “What irks is that our tax dollars are involved.”

She says, “As a pro-choice woman, I write and speak about abortion rights and donate money. But I don’t get a tax break and would ridicule the suggestion. Half the joy of activism is its utter lack of reward.”

Planned Parenthood, however, from whom she admits receiving her information about the First Place Centre, is heavily funded through donations under its own charitable tax status. Internationally, Planned Parenthood, as well as being the world’s largest abortion provider, is among the world’s wealthiest non-profit organisations and receives massive amounts of taxpayer dollars. The Canadian government gave $18 million to Planned Parenthood last year.

Mallick offers what she considers the coup de gras and reveals that the First Place website links to the US’ American Life League and that the Centre is financed by Ottawa’s Bethel Pentecostal Church in Ottawa a part of whose mission, she says, is “not just anti-abortion but anti-birth control”.

Implying that in Canada association with Christian churches makes a group “sinister”, she goes so far as to hint darkly that it is connected to anti-Semitism.

Mallick’s column is not the only attack on the fundraising effort. Ottawa Planned Parenthood has produced a media release denouncing First Place as an “anti-choice” organisation because it will not refer for abortions.

Their media release accuses the Centre of attempting to trick donors. Heather Greenwood of Planned Parenthood Ottawa wrote that women who visit First Place sometimes complain “that they couldn’t get the information that they wanted and sometimes they’re angry because they feel as if they were tricked into believing that they were going to a pro-choice counselling session only to discover that that was not the case when they got there.”
Terri Mazik, Executive Director of First Place Pregnancy Centre, responded saying that First Place is a “pro-women” organisation and that Planned Parenthood’s accusations “mischaracterize First Place operations.”

“The fact that we do not offer abortion referrals is plainly stated on our website and is reiterated to anyone making an appointment. At the beginning of a clients’ first appointment he/she reads and signs an intake form that clearly states we do not provide abortion referrals. There are no efforts to ‘trick’ anyone, as the Planned Parenthood Ottawa statement infers.”

But Judi McLeod, writing for the Canada Free Press, said the whole affair sounds like an effort by Planned Parenthood to quash freedom to choose. McLeod writes, “Wait a minute, Ms. Greenwood, isn’t Planned Parenthood the organization that thinks it fair for teens as young as 13 to have access to birth control without their parents’ knowledge?”

“Surely, Ms. Greenwood means to say ‘allegedly’ tricked into believing that they were going to a pro-choice counselling session only to discover that was not the case when they got there?” McLeod adds.
Attempts by Planned Parenthood to pressure the Senators directly is having little success. Sens Foundation president Dave Ready responded to Mallick that the First Place pregnancy centre is “in line with our mandate”. Ready responded to Mallick’s accusation of improper donations saying, “We did due diligence and checked that it’s a charity.”

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Ontario Press Council Rejects Complaint against Pro-abortion Newspaper Article