By Jonquil Frankham

October 9, 2008 ( – Charges filed by Ottawa’s First Place Pregnancy Center against Planned Parenthood Ottawa (PPO) have been dropped following a settlement out of court on September 16, 2008. The joint settlement between the two organizations states, “First Place, a respected community organization, and PPO have resolved the litigation concerning the SENSational Tree Raffle in 2007 and agree to focus their resources on serving the public in accordance with their respective missions.”

The case was initiated on May 20, 2008, when First Place pressed charges with the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice against Planned Parenthood Ottawa, reporting that the tax-payer funded organization “interfered with critical funding and defamed their charity putting their charity and the women they serve at risk.”

Planned Parenthood Ottawa had launched a media attack against the First Place Pregnancy Center on November 27, 2007, the day after “The Better Halves,” the Ottawa Senators’ wives and girlfriends’ charitable organization, had announced that the three chosen charities for their “SENSational Tree Raffle” included the First Place Pregnancy Center.

As a consequence First Place Pregnancy found itself under heavy pressure from the mainstream media and the PPO for its “anti-choice” position.

Pro-abortion columnist Heather Mallick wrote on the website of the CBC that the First Place was “sinister” and had possible connections to neo-Nazis because of its association with a local Pentecostal church, while Planned Parenthood Ottawa accused the Centre of trying to “trick” people into believing it was an “ordinary,” that is, abortion-promoting, service.

In the end First Place voluntarily withdrew its name from the list of beneficiaries out of concern for the reputation of “The Better Halves” charitable organization, which was being negatively affected by the negative press.

First Place Executive Director Terri Mazik is withholding comment on the case and its settlement, due to the requirements of the settlement.

Regarding the accusations leveled against the pregnancy center for its supposed religious fundamentalism, Mazik told that, while the “people that work at First Place are Christian,” they might be from “any denomination” and are “not [formally] connected to a Christian church.” Rather, First Place receives “funding from all kinds of different sources,” she said.

In response to accusations that First Place is “anti-choice,” Mazik said that her organization tries to avoid using labels, which tend to be “loaded.” First Place, she says, is “pro-woman and true-choice.”

The First Place Pregnancy Center website provides information on all options for pregnant women, including abortion; however, it states clearly that it will not provide referrals for abortions.

See related coverage:

Pro-Life Crisis Pregnancy Centre Bullied out of Fundraiser by Vicious Abortion Crusaders

Crisis Pregnancy Centre Commences Legal Proceedings Against Planned Parenthood Ottawa