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Man facing charges for violating pro-life censorship law passes away

Cyril Winter

Cyril Winter

One of the most recognizable pro-life activists in Ottawa has passed away.

For much of the past seven years, Cyril Winter had been fixture outside the Morgentaler Clinic on Bank Street, holding various signs, with messages such as “Potential Life Destroyed” or “Choose God’s Love, Not Murder”, and often with images of aborted babies.

Last month, Winter became the first person charged under Ontario’s “Safe Access to Abortion Services Act”, more colloquially known at the “Bubble Zone Law.”

Winter was 70 years old. In what was likely his last media interview earlier this month, he told Lighthouse News host Al Siebring that his arrest on February 7th was a case of betrayal by police. “I was surprised and shocked that they came after me, because (two police officers) had interviewed me on the Friday before and basically okayed the sign that I was carrying.” That sign, Winter said, had nothing to do with abortion. Instead, it read: “Freedom of Expression and Religion; No Censorship.”

Winter says when he read the actual charges against him, it was clear that they weren’t referencing the sign, but that authorities instead had made up “a series of lies, pretending that I was doing things like ‘photographing clients, land, or staff’, and ‘observing for purposes of persuading’”. Winter said in the interview that actual security video from the clinic’s own security cameras would prove that the charges were groundless.

The Lighthouse News interview was done from a hospital bed at the Ottawa Heart Institute, where Winter had been admitted for stenting of several coronary arteries. The surgery took place on Friday, March 9th. On Tuesday, his brother Chris posted to Facebook that Cyril had passed away shortly after the surgery.

He was due to appear in court on the charges on March 23rd.

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