This article was published in the St.Catharines Standard.
Earlier this month, on a Thursday morning, Linda Gibbons arrived at a Toronto Morgentaler abortion clinic that is “protected” by law from pro-life activity within 500 feet. Linda, who believes women have the right to receive pro-life counsel before having an abortion, began walking back and forth on the sidewalk, quietly and without interfering with anyone, while carrying a sign depicting a baby and the words, “Why mom? When I have so much love to give?” It didn’t take long for two sheriffs and six police officers to surround Linda, and off she went in handcuffs.
Linda has a history of being arrested and has spent eight of the past sixteen years in jail for breaking city by-laws that prohibit pro-life information outside abortion facilities. In Ms. Gibbons’ mind, abortion is murder and when carried out on a massive scale, as is the case in Canada or the US, she equates it to genocide. According to her, our age is deeply morally confused and blind for not seeing what she considers obvious.
There was something pathetic watching the YouTube clip depicting the arrest. I remember the diminutive Ms. Gibbons from her visit to the Niagara Celebration Church about 15 years ago. It appears she has not changed much, retaining her quiet moral strength, without defending herself. The demeanor of the arresting officers was rather subdued, it seemed they’d rather be chasing real criminals than the grandma-like Ms. Gibbons.
Linda believes that God and the Canadian charter, in that order, give her the right to counsel against abortion and to stand in front of abortion clinics offering kind and loving advice to those willing to listen.
While some in the media consider her crazy for being willing to spend so much time in jail, Ms. Gibbons disagrees. Last year she was quoted in the National Post, “Wherever I am, I’m free to do God’s work. I can be on the outside or on the inside it doesn’t matter. I don’t feel burdened by what I’m doing.”
Her lawyer, Daniel Santoro, considers Ms. Gibbons a prisoner of conscience: “She’s not a fanatic, she doesn’t rant or rave. I’m a strong believer in free speech. Whether I agree with her or not about abortion is not relevant. People are always asking me whether I think she’s crazy because they assume that anyone who goes to jail for that long must be totally crazy. I don’t think she’s crazy at all.”
Celia Posyniak, an abortion clinic director in Calgary, stated, “What people like her do is creepy. They don’t even have to say anything; it’s intimidating just to have somebody standing there. Why is it acceptable to intimidate women making a personal and legal decision?” After the recent arrest some news-sources called Linda “a damn creep”, who causes “harassment of women”.
The last time abortion was discussed in our federal parliament was under the Mulroney government, and at that time evangelical Christians unfortunately took the stance of all or nothing, and the Canadian people ended up with nothing—no protection for the unborn. Since then Canada has been on a list of nations, including Cuba and North Korea, where in the face of scientific realities, aborting the unborn is considered no different than the removal of any unwanted tissue.
What is so threatening about this woman suggesting an alternative to abortion? Is the abortion industry afraid of losing customers? Why are bylaws prohibiting free speech within 500 feet of an abortion clinic allowed? How can we Canadians stand for such restriction of free speech? Don’t we want women to be well informed of all sides of the argument, including scientific evidences of when a fetus is a fully viable human, before making the final decision regarding an abortion? Or is it only pro-abortion counsel that should be permitted?
In short, why are those, who claim to be “pro-choice”, not willing for women to have a well informed choice? Those who are comfortable with Canada’s unregulated abortion industry should not be intimidated by Ms. Gibbon’s presence outside the abortion clinic. Meanwhile those of us who feel ill at ease about Canada’s refusal to protect unborn girls and boys owe gratitude to Ms Gibbons. She is a Canadian hero.