Toronto, ON December 14, 2020 – The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) joined with Jesuit priest Father Tony Van Hee in his constitutional challenge to Ontario’s Safe Access to Abortion Services Act, the “bubble zone” legislation.

To date, 6 affidavits have been filed in support of his application, including from Dr. Christian Elia, Executive Director of the CCRL, and Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast.

In response, the Crown submitted 15 affidavits from various witnesses, from abortion industry advocates, to ministry, police, and civic officials.  One of the Crown’s affiants has subsequently withdrawn, rather than face further exposure through the court process.

We are expecting the provision of additional documents from the ministry arising from freedom of information requests.  Cross examinations on these materials will occur over the next few weeks, with an expected hearing date in 2021.

Fr. Tony Van Hee was the 2019 recipient of the CCRL’s Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life.

In addition to 52 years as a Catholic priest, Fr. Tony has engaged in a regular prayerful protest to oppose abortion and in support of life, on Parliament Hill, which he commenced in September of 1989. He has kept his faithful vigil for over 30 years.

Fr. Tony was arrested on October 24, 2018 for silently protesting within 50 metres of the Morgentaler abortion clinic in Ottawa. Fr. Van Hee never spoke with anyone. He did not distribute anything. He made no mention of abortion or abortion related services. Fr. Tony simply wore a sandwich board. On the front was the sentence, “The Primacy of Free Speech Cornerstone of Western Civilization”; on the back, “Without Free Speech the State is a Corpse.”

Fr. Tony was charged with violating section 3(1)(e)(iii) of the Safe Access to Abortion Services Act which states:

3 (1) While in an access zone established under section 6 for a clinic or facility, no person shall,
(e) for the purpose of dissuading a person from accessing abortion services,
(iii) intimidate or attempt to intimidate the person, or…

Father Van Hee cannot face this challenge alone.  Supporters can assist with his legal defence by donating to the Catholic Civil Rights League and inserting Fr. Tony Van Hee Defence Fund in the donation details field. Alternatively, it can be indicated on a cheque or mentioned while in the process of making an over the phone donation.

We appeal to any of you not financially impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, who may wish to accomplish more almsgiving by sending a donation to the CCRL by clicking here or by mailing a cheque to the CCRL at 2305 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M6S 1P1, or by calling the office at (416) 466-8244 or 1-844-722-CCRL.

About the CCRL

Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) ( assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.

To donate to the CCRL, please click here.

For further information:

Christian Domenic Elia, PhD
CCRL Executive Director