Tuesday August 3, 2010

Linda Gibbons Hits Cover of National Post

By Patrick B. Craine

TORONTO, Ontario, August 3, 2010 ( – Pro-life prisoner of conscience Linda Gibbons hit the front page of the National Post on Saturday, in what has been called the largest piece on the pro-life heroine yet from Canada’s national media.

Religion reporter Charles Lewis, who interviewed the pro-life activist at the Vanier Centre for Women, one hour west of Toronto, explained that Gibbons “believes she has a Charter and God-given right to counsel against abortion, to stand in front of an abortion clinic and offer advice and to do otherwise is no different than watching Nazis dragging Jews out of their home in 1938 and saying nothing.”

Lewis highlights Gibbons’ persistence, describing her “protest-prison loop,” the seemingly endless cycle of arrest, then release, and (usually within a matter of days of her release) arrest again.

The great-grandmother has spent eight of the last sixteen years behind bars – more than notorious murderer Karla Homolka, as Lewis points out. She is “guilty” only of praying outside of Toronto abortuaries, inside a bubble zone created by court order in 1994 through a “temporary” injunction.

Gibbons is always peaceful in her protests; it is her custom to remain silent in solidarity with the unborn. Her most recent arrest was in January 2009, since which she has spent over 550 days in jail.

She remains behind bars because she steadfastly refuses to accept a bail condition that requires her to stay away from the abortion facilities.

Lewis quotes Celia Posyniak, a Calgary abortuary director, who said that Gibbons’ actions are “creepy.” “They don’t even have to say anything. It’s intimidating just to have someone standing there,” she said. “Why is it acceptable to intimidate women making a personal and legal decision?”

But Gibbons’ lawyer, Daniel Santoro, insisted that Gibbons’ right to free speech has been suppressed. “I get bombarded in this every day of my life with people on the street asking if I want to donate money or asking me for this or that and I get all sorts of things shoved in my face. I don’t like it, but that doesn’t mean I get the right to get a law prohibiting that from happening,” he told Lewis. “All she does is try to talk to people and if they don’t want to listen, then fine.”

The Toronto injunction Gibbons repeatedly violates “did not come out of a vacuum,” says Lewis. He says pro-life protesters were known to yell “murderer” or “killer”, and abortuary workers and clients needed to “run a gauntlet through protesters.” “One Toronto Morgentaler clinic had even been bombed in May 1992,” he notes.

That bombing, however, has never been linked with the pro-life movement, though the movement was immediately convicted by numerous media commentators. No charges were ever laid, but the prime suspect was a man named David Patten whose girlfriend had aborted their baby at the site. Patten was arrested years later for murdering his parents.

In fact, a 1994 CSIS report suggested there was evidence that the bombing was actually perpetrated by the pro-abortion movement. The report stated that a CSIS informer “thinks that the bombing was by a left-wing activist to make the government take action against the anti-abortionists.”

Lewis goes on to share the story of Gibbons’ conversion to Christianity, and her struggle after her own abortion 40 years ago, as well as Gibbons’ struggle to bring a challenge against the temporary injunction itself.

Find the full article here.

Contact Information:

Charles Lewis, Religion Reporter for National Post

E-mail: [email protected]

See related coverage:

Linda Gibbons: Prisoner of Conscience

Gibbons Case May Be Headed to Supreme Court