Vancouver feminist Joyce Arthur wins court case against abortion-counselling organizations

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      One of Vancouver's best-known prochoice activists has won a victory in B.C. Supreme Court after she was sued for defamation.

      Joyce Arthur claimed in a 2009 report on the Pro-Choice Action Network website that crisis-preganancy centres (CPCs) are "anti-choice Christian ministries, often pretending to be non-biased medical clinics or counselling services. Their main goal is to stop women from having abortions and to convert women to Christianity".

      On August 26, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Loryl Russell dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Christian Advocacy Society of Greater Vancouver and the Crisis Pregnancy Centre of Vancouver Society.

      According to Russell's ruling, Arthur's report included many criticisms of CPCs, which Arthur referred to as "fake clinics" that relied on "Misinformation and Deceptive Tactics".

      In addition, her report claimed that these operations "use graphic videos and pictures to shock and horrify young women about abortion", describing this as "practically a form of terrorism".

      Arthur also maintained in the report that they "won't say upfront" that they are religiously affiliated, according to Russell's ruling.

      The report led to a three-part series on CTV News.

      The lawsuit was filed in 2012.

      The plainfiffs alleged that Arthur and the Pro-Choice Action Network "undertook a fundraising campaign for the purpose of distributing the Report to various individuals and organizations known to the defendants located in Vancouver and Burnaby, where the plaintiffs' CPCs are located".

      In addition, the plaintiffs claimed that the report "expressly identifies them".

      Russell's ruling cited the "real issue" as whether the defendants could "immunize themselves from liability" by including "hedging language" in the report.

      As an example, the judge noted that the report claimed that activites and strategies cited were "common to many or most CPCs throughout North America".

      Part of the claim focused on comments that Arthur had made to CTV News reporter Jon Woodward.

      Woodward had earlier told the court that Arthur never communicated that allegations in her report applied to the Vancouver Crisis Pregnancy Centre or Burnaby Crisis Pregnancy Centre.

      In 2011, Arthur told the Straight that she was raised in a Christian fundamentalist home in Ontario.

      That same year, she was voted "favourite feminist" at the Naked Truth Adult Entertainment Awards for her ongoing support for sex-trade workers.




      Aug 28, 2013 at 3:58pm

      Congratulations to Joyce Arthur on successfully exposing the Pro-Choice Action Network for what they really are. Afraid of the truth and unwilling to act transparently, deceptively attempting to win supporters by disguising themselves.

      Alan Layton

      Aug 29, 2013 at 9:13am

      Bravo. There is no lengths that god freaks won't go to in order to bend the public to their will. I'm always happy when they are exposed as the con-artists they really are.

      Philip Reid

      Aug 29, 2013 at 9:59am

      If you are an atheist working in an abortion counseling center should you be compelled to share your world view?

      If you don't are you "Afraid of the truth and deceptive"


      Aug 29, 2013 at 11:59am

      Let's juat hope (not pray) she's awarded back her full legal costs fighting this lawsuit...

      David Beneteau

      Aug 29, 2013 at 12:11pm

      Uh, Shepsil, did you mean to say "exposing the Crisis Pregnancy Centres"?


      Sep 3, 2013 at 10:09pm

      Way to go, Joyce Arthur! On behalf of all women, thank you so much for your efforts. Next step: outlaw all clinics that aren't run by secular medical professionals.