BRITISH COLUMBIA, August 27, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A B.C. judge ruled yesterday that top abortion activist Joyce Arthur did not defame two Vancouver area Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC) in a 2009 report that accused CPCs of terrorizing and lying to women.
Christian Advocacy Society of Greater Vancouver (CAS), which runs the two CPCs, sued Arthur and the Pro-Choice Action Network last year, claiming that the 2009 report misrepresented CPC services, harming the centers’ ability to provide care and help to women in crisis pregnancies.
However, Justice Loryl D. Russell ruled from B.C.’s Supreme Court that since the two centers were only mentioned indirectly in the report, the allegedly defamatory statements in question were “not of and concerning” them, and would not “lead the ordinary person” to discredit the CPCs run by CAS.
“In my view, the generality of the impugned statements in the Report is a decisive factor in this analysis,” the judge wrote.
The judge deemed that Arthur’s nearby residence to one of the centers offered no “great deal of weight” to arguments that she was directly targeting the CAS centers in her report.
CAS was ordered to pay costs in the case. Brian Norton, CAS’s Executive Director, told LifeSiteNews.com that board members will decide tonight how to proceed.
In the report, titled “Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres in British Columbia,” Arthur defines CPCs as abortion counseling centers which “are actually anti-choice Christian ministries, often pretending to be non- biased medical clinics or counselling centres. Their main goal is to stop women from having abortions and to convert women to Christianity.”
The report’s stated objective was to “research anti-abortion counseling centres, or ‘fake clinics’, in British Columbia.”
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An Access to Information Request revealed that the pro-abortion report was funded to the tune of $27,000 by Status of Women Canada, a federal government organization.
The report explains that Arthur gained access to CPC training manuals through an undercover pro-abortion university student whom she sent to infiltrate the Burnaby CPC as a volunteer counselor. CPC materials criticized in the report came directly from this center.
However, Arthur’s defense team argued successfully before the judge that the report does not “describe the practices of any particular CPC”.
Court documents reveal how the report was eventually relayed by Arthur to mainstream media and led to a CTV-BC investigative sting of Vancouver CPCs that aired January, 2012. Vancouver pro-lifers denounced the show as biased after CTV-BC predominately showcased commentary from abortion advocates with an apparent axe to grind against the province’s pro-life pregnancy centers.
The CPC of Vancouver subsequently sued CTV-BC for defamation and misrepresentation, demanding a retraction and correction of all video and print versions of the CTV-BC investigation.
The judge noted in the ruling that Arthur’s connection to the report diminishes its “reliability” since it was “written by a known advocate of the pro-choice movement, potentially making her opinions partial.”