Judgment on Demers reserved
VANCOUVER - Judge H.J. McGivern of the B.C. provincial court has reserved judgment on the case of pro-life activist Jim Demers, who was convicted two years ago of contravening a B.C. "bubble-zone" law restricting pro-life activities within certain areas around abortuaries. Demers's lawyer, Paul Formby, used arguments which included the principle of the right to life in international law. Meanwhile, 25-year-old Mary Wegner has opted to spend time in jail rather than agree to stay away from Vancouver abortuaries. She pleaded guilty to four counts of violating the bubble-zone law and received a suspended sentence, but refused to sign a recognizance order which included a provision that she keep out of the bubble zones around the abortuaries.
PP pushes ‘morning-after' pill
HALIFAX - Planned Parenthood has launched a major ad campaign promoting abortifacient "morning-after" pills. Posters have appeared in bus shelters advertising a toll-free number where callers can receive "information." Financial donors to the campaign have included Nova Scotia's department of health, the William H. Kaufman charitable foundation, the I.W.K. Grace Health Centre, and the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre. One of the ads suggests that, "Once a woman is already pregnant, emergency contraceptive pills won't be effective." The statement is based on the disputed notion that pregnancy begins at the implantation of the egg in the mother's uterus, and not when the sperm and egg unite.
Alberta abortions up sharply
EDMONTON - The number of abortions in Alberta has increased dramatically during the last two years, says Alberta pro-life president Joanne Hatton. Figures obtained under a freedom-of-information request reveal Albertans paid for 10,231 abortions in the 1997-98 fiscal year, a four-per-cent increase over the previous year, which in turn recorded a 10 per cent increase over the year before it. "In an age when we have excellent pre-natal care, it is absurd for the government to pretend that over 10,000 women had medically necessary abortions," remarked Hatton. She noted that one-third of abortions in 1997-98 were performed on women who had already undergone at least one.
Winnipeg DNR man goes home
WINNIPEG - Andrew Sawatzky, the 79-year-old man with Parkinson's disease whom a hospital once said should not be resuscitated, was reported to be ready to leave his bed and go home recently. "Not bad for a guy they wanted to give up for dead," his wife's lawyer, Richard Beamish, remarked. Beamish said Sawatzky is now receiving physiotherapy, and plans are being made to enable him return home with his wife. "Our reports are completely at variance with (the doctors'), and say more or less the complete opposite," said Beamish. "The proof is in the pudding. He's now improving all the time." Helene Sawatzky had taken Riverview Health Centre to court after doctors at the hospital placed a do-not-resuscitate order on her husband's file, without consulting her.
Québec approves gay couples
QUEBEC CITY - The Parti Québécois government recently introduced a bill proposing to grant sweeping legal recognition to homosexual couples. The bill, which would place same-sex couples on the same legal footing as heterosexual couples, marks the first across-the-board legal recognition of homosexual spousal unions in Canada. It would amend 28 Quebec laws and 11 provincial regulations to recognize "de facto unions" of couples of the same sex. Similar legislation in British Columbia was limited to extending pension benefits to gay couples, but the Québec bill covers everything from subsidized housing to immigrant couples. Hawaii is the only other North American jurisdiction that recognizes homosexuality to such a degree. The PQ justice minister suggested the bill reflects the "tolerance" that "typifies" Québec society.
Regina gives in to ‘Gay Pride'
REGINA - Giving in to the same pressures that have been brought to bear on numerous other mayors in municipalities across Canada, Mayor Doug Archer has approved a proclamation recognizing Lesbian Bi and Gay Pride Week in Regina, ending a dispute that began 10 years ago and flared up again last year. Regina's city council had voted in 1989 to proclaim a Lesbian and Gay Pride Week, but retracted the decision after an intense public outcry. The matter laid dormant until last year, when homosexual activists raised it again, leading to the development this year. Winnipeg, London, Hamilton, and Fredericton are among the many other cities already forced to grant the proclamation.v