From the “Pro-Choice Press: Autumn 1996”
Acting like a Gerk
At the end of August, clinic records from Everywoman’s Health Centre were released to pro-life activist Ted Gerk, after he filed a Freedom of Information request with the Information and Privacy Commissioner. The records consisted of detailed correspondence between the clinic and the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons, from 1990 to 1995, relating largely to the accreditation of the clinic.
Staff at the clinic were dismayed and disgusted by the decision to release the records. Spokes-person Kim Zander said that the release of the information would prove harmful to business interests and could put staff and the public at risk. She accused anti-choicers of looking for any issue that they could “conjure into a horror story.”
Gerk is the public relations director of the Pro-life Society of BC. An active opponent of abortion since Everywoman’s Health Centre was established, Gerk has been arrested twice for blockading the clinic, in December, 1988 and February, 1989.
Gerk has insinuated in his public statements, without a shred of evidence, that clinic procedures are suspect and possibly dangerous to women. He questioned why Everywoman’s operated without initial accreditation and “without necessary life-saving equipment.” This is a reference to the clinic’s defibrillator, a heart-rhythm correction device that has sat collecting dust since the clinic was forced to shell out a small fortune for it several years ago to meet accreditation requirements.
“We have absolutely nothing to fear from public scrutiny,” said Zander. “What we do fear is the misinformation that is given to the public by people who distort the truth.” She asserted that the antis have no interest in learning about the clinic or its activities, and that what Gerk knows about clinic procedures and the clinic “could fit on the edge of a pin.” Public statements made by Gerk indicate he doesn’t have the public’s interest in mind and based on his past behaviour, he undoubtedly hopes to find something in the records with which to continue his campaign of harassment and intimidation of the clinic and its patients.”
Of course, Joye Arthur, the author of this hissy fit, doesn’t mention the history behind the accreditation of the abortion clinic. “Harmful to business interests”? How could a not-for-profit clinic in the Province of British Columbia, have “business interests”?
Does that sound like reasons to ban the release of abortion-related information? Being caught operating without accreditation?