Linda Gibbons has been arrested multiple times for violating a temporary injunction issued in 1994 that prevents her from protesting within 150 metres of Toronto abortion clinics. Photo by Vanessa Santilli

Christmas in jail for Linda Gibbons

  • December 20, 2011

TORONTO - Pro-life activist Linda Gibbons will be spending her Christmas season in jail, having been arrested Dec. 16 for violating an injunction that barred her protests in front of Toronto abortion clinics.

The arrest comes just two days removed from Gibbons’ appearance before the Supreme Court of Canada as she tried to have the injunction barring her pro-life protests quashed. This injunction has led to some 20 arrests over the years and nine years of incarceration.

Gibbons began her latest protest around 9 a.m. at the Morgentaler Clinic near Bayview and Eglinton Avenues. Toronto Police arrested her about two hours later.

Gibbons has been arrested multiple times for violating a temporary injunction issued in 1994 that prevents her from protesting within 150 metres of Toronto abortion clinics. Each time she has been jailed judges have refused to grant her bail unless she promises not to continue her protests. She refuses to abide by these conditions.

Before her latest arrest, Gibbons had been speaking to women who entered the clinic and passersby. She stood holding a sign that read: “Why mom? When I have so much love to give.”

Gibbons was in court Dec. 19 and her next court date will be on Jan. 3 at the College Park Courthouse, Gibbons’ lawyer Daniel Santoro told The Catholic Register. Until that time, Gibbons will remain in prison.

In her appearance before the Supreme Court Dec. 14, her lawyers had argued that violations of civil injunctions or orders made by family courts or human rights tribunals should go back to the civil courts for enforcement, where there are a wider variety of remedies, including the lifting of the injunction.

But a lawyer representing Ontario’s Attorney General countered that enforcement of the 17-year-old injunction was necessary to ensure respect for the rule of law.

The Supreme Court has reserved judgment and no timeline for a decision was given.

Gibbons, a 63-year-old grandmother, told reporters outside the court she does not believe the Crown has “an absolute right to throw an injunction” against groups it disagrees with. She said the Crown is overreaching and doing “violence in a democracy where people have differing views.”

“A country that does not protect its unborn is no longer a civilized or a free country,” she told CCN outside the court. This injunction, she said, “is being used as a political instrument to silence us.”

Gibbons’ lawyers said in an interview the abortion issue was only a backdrop to the case which focused on highly technical arguments about whether the violation of this injunction should have gone to a criminal court. They are arguing to have her conviction quashed but if Gibbons wins, the injunction, which was part of a civil lawsuit launched by Bob Rae’s NDP government, will still stand unless the original defendants seek to have it quashed themselves.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible, which has become acutely important amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.