BC court dismisses appeal by pro-lifers convicted of violating abortion ‘bubble zone’
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, January 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - An appeal to the British Columbia Supreme Court launched by two pro-life activists convicted last June of violating the province’s infamous “bubble zone” law, was dismissed on December 20th by Madam Justice Fisher.
“As we left the courtroom on December 7th, we felt that we had made our case and should win; and if it had not been an abortion-related case, I’m sure we would have won,” Don Spratt, one of the two pro-lifers, said.
“However, I knew we were up against a stacked court system, biased in defense of evil—not unlike the southern courts in the United States circa 1850, which did all they could to defend the indefensible human rights abuse of their day: slavery.
“Nothing has changed except the victims: then it was dehumanized people of African origin… now it is unwanted (and therefore dehumanized) pre-born children they like to call ‘foetuses’.”
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Spratt and Cecilia (Sissy) von Dehn have been embroiled in litigation over free speech rights to protest against abortion at abortion facilities since Spratt and another pro-lifer, Gordon Watson, were arrested in December 1998. The were accused of standing inside a “bubble zone” in front of Everywoman’s Health Clinic in Vancouver holding a wooden cross and signs that read, “thou shall not kill.”
Spratt and von Dehn, a representative of Canadian Nurses for Life, were arrested June 19, 2009 for standing inside the “bubble zone” outside the Everywoman’s abortion facility on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. They also passed out copies of BC’s Access to Abortion Services Act (the “bubble zone” law) while wearing sandwich-board signs that identified the zone, “Warning! You Are In A Bubble-Zone. You can be arrested under Bill 48” and “Be informed. Read Bill 48.”
The BC Access to Abortion Services Act forbids any counseling against abortion to be given within 50 metres of an abortion mill. However, Spratt and von Dehn pointed out that they were not counseling against abortion in the bubble zone, but merely informing people of the legislation.
They were arrested by officers with the Vancouver Police Department, jailed, and charged with “protesting in an abortion services access zone” and “engaging in sidewalk interference.” Von Dehn had protested the law in a similar fashion on three other occasions during the month of June without being charged.
In 2009 and in 2008 the pro-lifers entered the bubble zone with the same signage and passed out the related Access to Abortion Services Act legislation to the public. On each occasion Vancouver Police attended and assured them that there was no breech of the Act by informing the public of the legislation.
“Interesting interpretation that one is arrested, jailed, convicted for ‘protest’ for passing out to the public copies of a Law in BC which applies to a specific area,” von Dehn, a sixty-year old grandmother and long-time pro-life activist, told LifeSiteNews at the time of her arrest. “If the abortion clinic workers passed out the same legislation information in the same ‘bubble-zone’ would they be arrested for ‘protest’?”
Commenting on Madam Justice Fisher’s decision, Mr. Spratt said, “I have no doubt that if our free speech case had not been not related to the abortion issue, we would win easily, and our Section 2 rights would be upheld.” Spratt specifically took aim at the mainstream media, who he said have refused to report on the decision, arguing that they have acted as the “public relations arm of the abortion industry from the beginning.”
Spratt told LifeSiteNews that Madam Justice Fisher’s ruling will be appealed, and the case may go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
“This injustice is far too grievous and far too dangerous—to the integrity of our justice system and to Canadian freedom—to be left unchallenged,” he said.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the legal expenses of this case can send cheques, payable to Ron McDonald Law Office and designated “Don Spratt legal fund” to:
243 - 12B Street North, Lethbridge, AB T1H 2K8
Further information is available (and donations may also be made) at the Renaissance Canada web site, (http://www.renaissancecanada.ca/)