For the fourth time, three Montreal clinics recently obtained an injunction to prevent anti-abortion protesters waving placards at their doors.
And they would now get an anti-harassment law that would create larger buffers and expose criminal penalties unruly activists. As in British Columbia and eight US states.
For now, members of Quebec Life are being banned from two quadrangles covering the Morgentaler clinics, Femina and L’Alternative, all three neighboring Berri-UQAM metro station. The prohibition concerns both “sidewalks shepherds” – that offer assistance to women to discourage abortion – that participants in the “40 days for Life”, an international event for up to 50 Quebecers Once, every fall and spring.
Their “actions certainly disturb a woman’s right to privacy and dignity. They wear also affect the right of owners of buildings and clinics “peacefully enjoy the places, justified the Chantal Lamarche judge of the Superior Court, in a decision released yesterday.
Although members of Quebec Life proved they were respectful, addressing the women, they and their caregivers were “disturbed, upset, angry, shocked, upset and stressed” by their presence. At the point of pain and increase the risks during surgery, said the Court.
Their placards tell each other “Let us pray for the end of abortion.”
The Quebec Life members have the right to exercise their freedom of expression, she said. But that right ends where that of others begins. They can cause harm their deemed “serious and irreparable,” as prevent women from receiving care in a serene environment and degrade the work environment of staff.
Since the Supreme Court has recognized the right to abortion, Lamarche judge did not consider relevant the arguments of members of Quebec Life on women they have changed their minds, or those who went to front and regretted, or to those who say they have been underserved.
“Again, a woman’s right to choose is confirmed and receive care in a confidential and safe, welcomed interviewed the owner of the Morgentaler Clinic, France Desilets. But tomorrow morning, protesters could resume their ride elsewhere. ”
When Morgentaler clinic and its neighbor Femina obtained an emergency injunction in February, protesters immediately moved a few blocks away, in front of the clinic L’Alternative, who had to get an injunction in turn.
The activist Brian Jenkins told the judge that he could have chosen several places, since he knows “about twenty other clinics carrying out abortions in the Montreal region.”
Once clinical moved, it must also resume its legal fight to zero to establish a perimeter in his new neighborhood. Besides the injunction obtained yesterday is only temporary (called interlocutory).
“This battle takes a lot of resources and energy and those resources are not infinite,” says Ms. Desilets.
On the website of Quebec Life, which still recently posted a picture of a decapitated fetus, the president of the agency, Georges Buscemi, accusing the media of being biased. He criticized eg the Press to use the clinical term rather than “abortion mill”. And he repeats that its members are not violent.
This does not prevent clinic staff to be afraid of those who could be. Before their final injunction, an intruder appeared before the bulletproof glass of the Morgentaler Clinic, a panic button connects directly to the police, among others, because it receives each month death threats.
No drama is it never happens. But in the 90s, its founder, Dr. Henry Morgentaler, was attacked with scissors, his Toronto clinic, which was then pulverized by a bomb.
At the same time, the bullets hit three Canadian physicians in Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia.
This is also what prompted that province to adopt its anti-harassment law establishing “bubbles” inviolable several meters in diameter around abortion clinics and their staff.
In Quebec, the number of abortions has fallen by 17% in 10 years, reaching 25,253 in 2013. Each year, nearly a third of these procedures are performed in one of three clinical protected by the new injunction.