TORONTO - Charges of disobeying a court order and obstructing a peace officer against Toronto pro-life demonstrator Linda Gibbons were withdrawn on Nov. 12, charges that never should have been laid in the first place, according to her lawyer. 

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

OTTAWA - Pro-life activist and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medalist Linda Gibbons is back in prison, certain she is doing God’s work for praying outside an abortion facility.

Police moved in and arrested her Oct. 30 after the 64-year-old great-grandmother prayed outside of the Morgentaler abortuary on Hillsdale Avenue in Toronto, breaking a temporary injunction prohibiting demonstrators from coming too close to the facility and impeding its business.

Gibbons carried her usual sign depicting a picture of an infant and the words: “Why Mom? When I have so much to give.” Police moved in after about an hour and a half and arrested Gibbons.

“We will remain free in our love, we will not be coerced by the government to turn our backs on the unborn child,” Gibbons told CCN in an exclusive phone interview from Toronto days before her latest arrest. “If that lands us in court, that’s a gift, another providential opportunity to do the Lord’s work.

“When hoping and praying become a criminal activity, where is our freedom?” she asked.

Gibbons said her fellow inmates often ask her how she can stand the confinement, and being away from her family.

“I always tell the girls, ‘One day at a time with Jesus.’ It is Christ’s strength that gives you that fortitude to persevere,” she said.

The injunction dates back to 1989 after the former Morgentaler clinic on Harbord Street was firebombed.

Morgentaler built a bigger and more secure facility at the Hillsdale Avenue location that is covered by the temporary injunction creating a bubble zone around it.

Gibbons recalled the first time she was arrested. She and some fellow pro-lifers were in the alley behind the facility praying in a circle. They were not blocking the entrance or talking to people or doing anything that might impede Morgentaler’s business operation, she said.

She knew she would lose her job at military headquarters if she was arrested. But the words of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane came to her: “Can you not pray with me for one hour?” She realized her job “is something I must lay down.”

“Anything I put before Christ is not where I should be at the moment,” she said. “Doing the will of Christ is my first duty and the duty of the moment.”

In between arrests Gibbons used to try to get a job so as to maintain her apartment, but she realized hanging onto her home or an income was unrealistic.

“For 20 years, I have had no government support; I’m on no government program,” she said. “Pro-lifers have are carrying me through.”

A great-grandmother of two, Gibbons does miss her family when she’s in prison.

“I see this as a cost of doing business with the government,” she said. “I’m trying to leave a legacy for my grandchildren, so they don’t have to live in a society burdened by abortion.”

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - A Conservative MP who came under fire for awarding Diamond Jubilee Medals to pro-life activists who have served time in prison has garnered plenty of support from those who see the activists as prisoners of conscience.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - It's more jail time for anti-abortion activist Linda Gibbons, at least another month, as the next ruling in her case won't be made until July 20.

Gibbons remains imprisoned for violating a court order — from 1994 — for handing out graphic pamphlets of aborted fetuses outside a Toronto abortion clinic.

"The judge needs time to decide so she's going to have to sit there and wait until he makes his decision, Gibbons' lawyer Daniel Santoro told The Catholic Register.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has overwhelming dismissed an appeal by pro-life crusader Linda Gibbons.

In an 8-1 vote, Canada's highest court upheld lower court rulings that permitted Gibbons to be charged criminally for disobeying temporary injunctions that were imposed in civil courts several years ago.

Published in Canada

The fairness of criminally prosecuting anti-abortion protester Linda Gibbons for breaching a 17-year-old temporary order will be ruled on by the Supreme Court of Canada today.

"The case is basically about whether they can charge Linda criminally under the Criminal Code for breaking an injunction that was issued by a civil court," Daniel Santoro, Gibbons' lawyer, told The Catholic Register. "If I win, they won't be able to do that. They'll have to start a contempt proceeding and bring it before the court that made the order."

Published in Canada

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.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

TORONTO - Pro-life activist Linda Gibbons, just two days removed from appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada, was arrested again Dec. 16 outside a Toronto abortion clinic.

Gibbons began her 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. Since then, she has served more than nine years in prison for her protests, with judges refusing to grant her bail unless she promises not to continue her protests. She refuses to abide by these conditions.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

OTTAWA - Lawyers for oft-arrested pro-life demonstrator Linda Gibbons argued before the Supreme Court of Canada Dec. 14 that using the criminal courts to stop her protests is like using a butcher’s knife where a scalpel would be more appropriate.

Attorney Daniel Santoro told the land's highest court that criminal courts should not be used to enforce an injunction made by a civil court, an injunction that has been used to jail Gibbons repeatedly. Instead, 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.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - Pro-life activist Linda Gibbons was freed from a maximum security Ontario prison on Nov. 4 after charges of disobeying a 17-year-old temporary court injunction prohibiting protests at several downtown Toronto abortion clinics were dismissed.

Gibbons’ lawyer, Daniel Santoro, told The Catholic Register the charges were dismissed by Ontario Justice Alphonse T. Lacavera because the sheriff read an outdated injunction to Gibbons when he arrested her on Aug. 4 for breaching the 1994 temporary injunction.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - Lawyer Daniel Santoro will give a preview of jailed pro-life activist Linda Gibbons’ upcoming Supreme Court hearing at the 26th annual meeting of the Catholic Civil Rights League.

Santoro is the featured speaker at the CCRL’s Oct. 13 meeting that begins with a 5:30 p.m. Mass at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Cathedral, followed by the meeting at St. Michael’s Choir School.

Santoro said he would present an overall summary of Gibbons’ case before the Supreme Court on Dec. 14 which will challenge a 1994 temporary Ontario court injunction protecting several downtown Toronto abortion clinics. The issue is “whether the Criminal Code can be used to enforce civil injunctions,” he said.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

TORONTO - Long-time pro-life activist Linda Gibbons called for Canadians to stand up against abortion and protest the curtailing of pro-lifers’ freedom of expression on abortion at the June 25 Toronto Pro-life Forum hosted by Campaign Life Coalition.

Gibbons said a “critical indignation” was needed to protest Canada’s abortion laws that are “promoting crimes against humanity.”

She also slammed the 1994 Ontario Supreme Court injunction barring pro-life activists from picketing, sidewalk counselling and interfering with access to abortion services or the “economic interests” of downtown Toronto clinics, a law that has led to her being arrested 20 times and imprisoned for 10 of the past 17 years.

“They are interfering with my freedom and I am offended by that,” she told the crowd of 185 participants at the Hotel Novotel who attended the two-day conference.

“In a free society, freedom of speech is a critical element. Why are we arrested for words when acts of murder are committed there?”

Published in Features

TORONTO - After more than two years in prison, long-time pro-life activist Linda Gibbons was freed on June 3.

The 62-year-old great grandmother was in jail for the past 28 months for picketing a Toronto abortion clinic and violating a nearly two decades-old court injunction.

Gibbons was set free after Ontario Court Justice Mara Beth Greene granted her lawyer’s application requesting that she be released without conditions. She was issued a summons to attend court on Jan. 15, 2012.

Gibbons has always refused to sign a bail condition that orders her to abide by a 1994 temporary injunction barring pro-life activists from picketing, sidewalk counselling and interfering with access to abortion services or the “economic interests” of downtown Toronto clinics. But Gibbons has chosen to disobey by peacefully picketing outside abortion clinics. This has led to her 20 arrests for various Criminal Code offences leading to her spending 10 of the past 17 years in jail.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

TORONTO - The Supreme Court of Canada is expected to hear jailed activist Linda Gibbons' appeal of a temporary injunction banning protest at downtown Toronto abortion clinics later this year.

Her lawyer, Daniel Santoro, expects the Supreme Court could hear her case in the fall.

Gibbons, a 62-year-old great-grandmother, has been arrested 20 times over the last 16 years, spending half of that time in maximum security prisons for different offences under the Criminal Code. This for violating a temporary 1994 civil court injunction protecting downtown Toronto abortion clinics from protesters such as Gibbons, an injunction that has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Ontario. She is not permitted within 60 feet of the clinics. Gibbons has violated the injunction each time by praying within the no-go zone.

Published in Canada

I have never met Linda Gibbons. I’m not sure I’d want to. After all, this 63-year-old grandmother must be a very dangerous person. She has spent almost all of the last 20 years locked up in jail.

Gibbons’ story began in 1994 when the NDP formed the Ontario Government and then Attorney-General Marion Boyd obtained a court injunction to prevent anyone from offering up a public protest within a 60-foot “bubble zone” around abortion clinics.  

Gibbons believes abortion is tantamount to murder. You do not have to share her view to recognize the moral imperative it creates. So Gibbons stands on the sidewalk outside abortion clinics and prays silently. Sometimes she goes further; sometimes she goes so far as to hold up a sign that says: “Why, Mom, when I have so much love to give?”

Published in Guest Columns
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