The Ontario Trillium Foundation has canceled $42,000 in funding for a faith-based crisis pregnancy centre in Sarnia after a complaint by a pseudonymous pro-abortion blogger.
Kim LeBlanc, the executive director of the Lambton Crisis Pregnancy Centre in Sarnia, allows that the folks at Trillium sent her a letter a few weeks back informing her the second half of a two-year grant to operate a new satellite centre in nearby Petrolia had been canceled, and followed it up with a courtesy phone call from Sonia Dayal, southwest Ontario regional director.
“But they never asked us about our operation,” she told LifeSiteNews. “They let us ask questions about their decision.” At no other time, she added, did the foundation ever call up the centre and ask about its operations prior to cutting the funds.
So upon what then did the foundation, which is wholly funded by the Ontario government from the proceeds of gambling, base its decision?
It turns out a pseudonymous blogger did all the fact-finding the foundation needed, even emailing it a link to the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services, based in Red Deer, Alberta, which is Christian-based and has a code of conduct followed by 80-such centres, including Lambton.
What exactly in the Conduct Code was offensive? LeBlanc wanted to know. Trillium’s answer: the part where all members undertake never to refer patrons to abortionists nor ever to supply contraceptives.
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“We aren’t a medical facility,” explains LeBlanc. “We don’t refer people to pediatricians and we don’t refer them to abortion clinics. We aren’t qualified.”
What Lambton does do is provide information about the risks of abortion, physical, emotional, and spiritual, about other community resources, and provide support during and after pregnancy or after an abortion. “There is a sense of loss” after an abortion, says LeBlanc. “We help women who’ve had abortions grieve the loss, either one-on-one with a counsellor or with a support group.”
Nonetheless, refusing to refer women to abortion clinics, the whistle-blowing blogger DammitJanet was told by Thomas Chanzy, the foundation’s vice-president of public affairs, violated the foundation’s “revised policy [that] now explicitly prohibits the funding of activities that seek to limit the legal rights and activities of Ontarians.”
It was DammitJanet and contributor “Fern Hill” who first complained to the foundation about their granting money to Lambton, given that it is a “religious anti-abortion group.” And it was the same pseudonymous accusers that dug up the evidence against Lambton. This turned out to be a potpourri of “undercover” news media reports alleging—to quote the Toronto Star for one–“that charitable organizations called crisis pregnancy centres often give out misleading or untrue information about the physical and psychological risks of abortion under the guise of options counselling to women facing unplanned pregnancies.”
DammitJanet also cited an “expose” of B.C. crisis pregnancy centres that sparked a libel action that “did not go well” for the suers, which proved in DammitJanet’s view, the truth of the expose. But, in fact, the B.C. crisis pregnancy centres lost the suit because the court ruled author Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Action League had lifted her report entirely from American sources describing American centres. It could not therefore defame B.C. centres.
LeBlanc says Lambton will continue to operate its Petrolia satellite centre but will have to find other sources of funding for its second year and beyond.
Ontario Trillium Foundation