Thursday, September 26, 2013

Exposing "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres in BC"

The two Crisis Pregnancy Centres in BC recently lost their defamation case against Joyce Arthur for her report "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres in BC."

Their press release states:

"As stated in his legal argument to the court at paragraph 18 "The defendants' position in this application is that as a matter of law the impugned passages in the report are not capable of being found to refer to the plaintiffs, and in any event, as a matter of fact the report would not lead a reasonable person who knows the plaintiffs to conclude that the passages refer to them"; and at paragraph 20 "... no reasonable reader of the report would feel able to draw any conclusions about the practices at the CPCs operated by the plaintiffs" (i.e. the Vancouver and Burnaby centres).

The Judge who heard legal argument on this matter in early April ultimately accepted those submissions, stating at paragraph 92 of her reasons for judgement, released on August 26th, that "As it is never made clear in the Report what 'many or most' entails with regard to CPCs across North America, it is difficult to say the 'deceptive' tactics reflect personally on the plaintiffs. The impugned statements do not have any specificity; the Report describes the tactics in broad generalizations." And then her conclusion at paragraph 98, that "I conclude the alleged defamatory statements are not of and concerning the plaintiffs."

The Crisis Pregnancy Centres are obviously confused by this ruling, since as they so aptly point out, the report:
  • Is titled Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres in British Columbia, and which title appears typed at the top on all 65-pages of the report, including the pages where the Allegations appear.
  • Describes its purpose as: "We wanted to find out what these centres were doing and saying to women in BC, and whether they were engaging in deceptive or harmful practices."
  • Lists the Vancouver and Burnaby Centres in an appendix to the report along with, and only, CPCs in BC.
  • Focuses most of the content (main text and appendixes) specifically on CPCs in BC (including our own CPCs).
But there is another reason that this ruling is troublesome. It is because of the very nature of the research itself, that was conducted for the report.

By her own admission, Arthur's research included using a volunteer to infiltrate CPCs in BC, by sending out surveys, by phone calls and by visits. All these activities were done of CPCs in BC, not to CPCs in anywhere else in North America. How could Arthur know that those activities and strategies are common to "many or most" CPCs throughout North America like she states? Other than a couple of footnotes, all of Arthur's hands on research was done in BC. Not anywhere else.

In fact, for Arthur's statement that "many or most” of 4000 US centres behave badly, she only has a few isolated footnotes about what a few of them do. How on earth can she generalize from a few bad apples to the majority? Almost certainly pure speculation.

The question that arises about this research is this. What are vague allegations about US centres, doing in a report about BC centres, other than to imply that what Arthur alleges is true of the US centres, is also true of the BC centres?

That is the implication readers will take from her report – that BC Centres do these bad things too. Is this what Arthur intended all along?

(See below for a list of my previous writings on this subject. They discuss some other interesting fun facts about the report. Like how Arthur's Pro Choice Action Network received $27,400 in a government grant from Status of Women Canada to write the report. And how PRO-CAN never publicly acknowledged that grant like they were supposed to.)

(This was first published on LifeNews in January 2010)
Supporting Women in Canada Means Educating That Abortion Hurts Women

Apr 05, 2010
Status of Women Canada pays extreme group to discredit CPCs

April 16, 2010
"pregnancy support groups" vs "crisis pregnancy centres"

April 27, 2010
Mr. Harper must support the abortion debate

June 25, 2012
Don't let the numbers fool you

(First published in LifeCanada's Journal)
Jan 06, 2013
Joyce Arthur's Pro-Can grant: an investigation, Part I
Mar 09, 2013
Joyce Arthur's Pro-Can grant: an investigation, Part II

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