Steve Jalsevac

Thoughts on the arrest of Linda Gibbons on Aug. 4, 2011

Steve Jalsevac
Steve Jalsevac
Image
Image

TORONTO, Ontario, August 5, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday I once again filmed and photographed Linda Gibbons being arrested for doing nothing more than peacefully trying to convince women entering an abortion clinic to not make the same mistake she herself made years ago. Since Linda’s first arrest in 1994 I have covered the story of her arrests again and again.  In 1999, I was also arrested by police officers directed by a sergeant and sheriff who seemed to have a much too cozy relationship with abortion center staff.  Eight months later the phony charge was dropped.

Yesterday, however, seemed different and unreal. (See video)

The officers and the sheriff were again going through the usual required motions, but this time they seemed confused about how to justify a law enforcement contingent of 6 police officers and 2 sheriffs for this situation. The quiet, passive, soft spoken woman of conscience was obviously no danger to anyone. The severity of the penalties for violating these injunctions, which she has endured for years, is an embarrassment to anyone of reason.

The officers that arrived were the most respectful I have seen over the years and it seemed that this was an awkward and unwelcome task for them. They probably would much rather have been called to go after real criminals than do the bidding of that profitable, government funded baby killing business.

Linda arrived at the Morgentaler Clinic at 8:55 a.m. Thursday morning. She had never attempted her counseling and protest at this particular location before.  The permanent injunction at this location, which is not the same 1994 “temporary” injunction under which Linda has repeatedly been arrested at the Scott abortion mill, prohibits any pro-life activity within a zone of 500 feet from the abortion facility. That makes it impossible for any sidewalk counselors to offer alternative information or assistance to the women without risking certain arrest and heavy penalties.

An abortuary staff woman soon came out and warned Linda to leave.  At 9:15 a large, intimidating security guard arrived and posted himself at the non-descript baby-killing center entrance. At 9:30 two police arrived on bikes and a third, a woman officer, soon joined them. They consulted with abortion center staff, were given a copy of the injunction and consulted with each other over this mysterious document.

They took turns talking to Linda, finding out what she was doing and why, and trying to convince her to leave. They were notably professional and respectful in going about their business.

At 10:25 the police supervisor arrived in a cruiser to direct the officers who seemed unsure about what to do. This was all taking much longer than it usually does at the Scott abortuary on Gerrard St. where Linda experienced all her previous arrests.

The Ontario sheriff and his deputy finally arrived at 10:35. Police cannot arrest protesters at facilities covered by the injunction unless the sheriff first reads the injunction to the pro-lifer(s) and then gives direction to arrest those who refuse to comply after the reading. At least that is how it is supposed to go. Some officers and sheriffs have had their own creative understanding of who should be threatened with arrest, or actually arrested and intimidated, regardless of the stated rules.

Thursday’s tall, lanky sheriff, who participated in past arrests of Linda, unrolled himself out of his car and immediately called out “Hi, Linda”. His intense, eager deputy followed him.

The sheriff, police and abortuary staff had a pow- wow about the problem of that persistent, quiet little women. Another police car and officers arrived. All this backup was apparently needed to deal with Linda, this reporter… and no one else.

Then a roving CBC cameraman accidentally came upon the scene and started to film. He had no idea what was going on, so I briefly filled him in. He had just been filming and interviewing the Show the Truth group that was displaying their graphic abortion signs along the very busy Bayview and Eglinton intersection only two blocks and well over 500 feet away.

As for those people with the signs, I can only imagine the huge commotion if they came any closer with “The Truth” about what was going on in that respectable office building with that unmarked side door seemingly for deliveries and with two prominent “727 Hillsdale” signs over and in front of it.

For the next 20 minutes, the lengthy injunction was read to Linda. She was repeatedly asked to comply; she remained mute; her rights were clearly stated to her and she was given more opportunities to comply; she continued to remain mute and non-compliant.

Linda was handcuffed and walked to one of the police cars and gently guided into the back seat. I have in the past seen her roughly and painfully dragged and thrown into police cars by aggressive officers who obviously had no use for her pro-life views. But not this time.

Linda’s long, now over 8-years total time in jail resumes again. How many more months or years in jail remains to be seen. Her young, very determined current lawyer has notably advanced her cause, although it is still an uphill battle. Linda does not speak in the court, just as the unborn cannot speak as they are destroyed. A Supreme Court appearance is upcoming, probably in the fall.

The publicity of three significant articles in the National Post in the last year on July 30, 2010, Feb 21, 2011, and Jun. 6, 2011, and recent more favourable and extensive coverage than ever in the Catholic Register and reports in other media has changed the landscape somewhat.

The travesty of this injustice and the incomprehensibly privileged legal and political protection provided the abortion industry must finally be addressed. This continuing situation seems to present the “freedom of choice” movement as a fat, big money-making, choice-denying lie. Linda has proved that for 16 years.

After all, the police should be protecting Linda as she tries to offer help to those women, many of whom are forced by friends, family and others into an abortion they really do not want. Why, the police should even hold her sign at times as she tries to counsel the women and save the lives of their unborn children.

See and hear Linda tell her story:
Linda Gibbons: ‘The end of abortion is Armageddon’

Only 5 days left!

Support pro-life news. Help us reach our critical spring fundraising goal by April 1!


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

, ,

Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

Advertisement
Featured Image
Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

Follow Jonathon van Maren on Facebook

Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

Follow Jonathon van Maren on Facebook

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Red Alert!

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for your support. 

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook