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In this photo originally published on LifeSite in 2017, Frank Barrett pickets outside Morgentaler abortion center on Bank Street in Ottawa. Frank Barrett

OTTAWA, November 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Police reports recently obtained through a freedom of information request show the Ontario Liberal government’s claim that pro-lifers had to be outlawed outside abortion facilities because they were increasingly “intimidating” women is completely baseless.

Pro-life blogger Patricia Maloney discovered police attendance at the Ottawa Morgentaler abortion center dropped 33.6 percent in the period between 2014 to 2017 from the period between 2010 and 2013.

Ottawa police reported 113 incidents in the 48 months between 2010 and 2013, or an average of 2.35 per month, Maloney wrote in her blog Run With Life.

But that fell to 64 reported incidents in 41 months, or 1.56 per month between 2014 and 2017.

Moreover, there were no reported injuries and no charges laid from 2010 to 2017, she wrote.

The Liberals claimed that criminalizing pro-life speech and expression outside the province’s eight abortion facilities was necessary because of escalating incidents of pro-life “intimidation.”

Indeed, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi mentioned during his October 4 press conference announcing Bill 163 that “as we saw in my hometown in Ottawa, a woman was spat on, which is assault.”

He referred to this again during questions from reporters, appearing to become emotional.

“As soon as I learned, in my own community that a woman was spat on for just simply going to get healthcare service,” Naqvi said, then stopped, apparently needing to regain his composure.

“Action was needed. And we worked as hard as we could to get this legislation here … ”

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson reiterated similar allegations from Morgentaler abortion center staff and Planned Parenthood when he wrote Naqvi in May asking the Liberals to crack down on pro-lifers.

Planned Parenthood Ottawa told Naqvi the same when he dropped in for a visit.

“What I heard from the staff affirmed even further to me that these changes are absolutely needed,” the attorney general said during October 16 second-reading “debate” on the bill.

The PC Party and NDP evidently bought the narrative, agreeing to fast-track the legislation, which passed October 26.

But Maloney’s data tell a different story.

‘Spitting business made up’: pro-lifer

So do Frank Barrett and Cy Winter, longtime pro-life witnesses at the Ottawa abortion facility.

“The spitting business was all made up. There was no evidence, no proof, no arrests,” Barrett told LifeSiteNews.

This despite the abortion facility spending $100,000 yearly for private security, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

But Barrett and Winter agree that incidents of intimidation outside Ottawa’s abortion center have escalated in the last year — against pro-lifers.

Barrett, 88, who has picketed weekly across the street from the abortion facility for eight years, credits the “rise in negativity against pro-life” to two events.

One was that he arranged to have a pro-life flag raised at Ottawa City Hall during last year’s March for Life in May.

The dawn flag-raising provoked immediate outrage on Twitter, a demand by seven city councillors to have it removed, and a swift avowal by Mayor Watson he had nothing to do with it.

“I did nothing wrong,” said Barrett, a security and intelligence officer in the RCMP for 33 years. “It was just that there were some people that are so pro-abortion” they became incensed.

Watson has refused to meet with pro-life advocates since, Barrett says.

The other event was an “overzealous young lad” entering the abortion center to “splash holy water around.”

The man was arrested and charged with mischief, the Ottawa Citizen reported in April.

“So they blew that one right up, and that started the ball rolling,” Barrett told LifeSiteNews. “Between that and the flag business, they said these people are radicals.”

Pro-lifer spat on, pushed into traffic

Winter, 69, contends that he has suffered aggression because of  Heather Mallick’s April 19 column in the Toronto Star.

Mallick described the pro-life witnesses outside Morgentaler’s as “omnipresent and creepy, some unwell, and some threatening.”

She also sympathetically reported abortion facility director of operations Shayna Hudson’s allegations that pro-life protestors “endangered” women, and that “anti-abortion antagonism” is rising in Canada since Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.

Since Mallick’s article was published, “it just rains spit,” Winter told LifeSiteNews. “People started coming and spitting like crazy, in my face, in my ear once, it’s awful.”

Moreover, two men “tried to push me into traffic,” Winter said, and a woman tried to steal his signs.

A retired teacher, Winter pickets five hours every weekday at the Morgentaler abortion facility.

When he started 6 1/2 years ago, he stood on the other side of the street, but 4 1/2 years ago he crossed over to take up a position in front of the building.

With Bill 163 passed October 25, Ontario became the fourth province after Quebec, Newfoundland and British Columbia to implement abortion bubble zone legislation, but it’s by far the most restrictive.

As well as automatically banning all pro-life speech and expression within 50 meters of eight abortion centers, a distance that can be increased to 150 meters on request, Bill 163 allows pharmacies, hospitals and healthcare institutions that provide medical or surgical abortions to apply to apply for “safe access” zones of up to 150 meters.

It also automatically bans pro-life witness within 150 meters of the homes of abortion doctors and abortion facility staff, a zone that moves with the individuals.

Penalty for breaching the law is a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail for a first offence, and a fine of up to $10,000 and up to one year in jail for second and subsequent offences.