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Anti-Abortion Group Sues Student Paper

(CN) - An anti-abortion group claims the student newspaper at Montreal's McGill University defamed it in an article that accused the group of using fraudulent images in its anti-abortion pitch. After the article appeared, students took over the lecture room and "drowned out attempts of any but themselves to speak," according to the complaint.

The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform claims in Quebec Superior Court that the Daily Publications Society, publisher of the McGill Daily newspaper, ran an article in October 2009 just before the centre's Jose Ruba was to give a presentation on campus.

The article, under the headline "A Threat to Choice," quoted a source from Planned Parenthood who accused the Centre of using a faked video of an abortion to "set up" debaters at the presentations.

The complaint claims that the offending article quoted the director of Planned Parenthood Canada describing a previous "debate" with the plaintiff's representative, Jose Ruba. "'It is not a debate; it is a set-up,' she explained. 'The first thing he does is show a movie - it's a show of gore, images of a fake abortion not medically possible ...'"

After the paper printed the article, the plaintiff's presentation was derailed when "a group of protesters took over the lecture room where the presentation was taking place," the complaint states.

The group claims that comments in the article "obviously attack and harm plaintiff's reputation by indicating that plaintiff's presentation is fraudulent."

The group says the newspaper refused to print a retraction; it seeks $150,000 in damages.

The centre is represented by Robert E. Reynolds.

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