2017-10-08 17:15:22 UTC
protect women who seek their services and the health-care workers who
perform them, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said Wednesday.
Naqvi said the zones, which will extend 50 to 150 metres around
Ontario's eight abortion clinics, are designed to protect women who
choose to access the services. The zones are spaces where advising a
person to refrain from getting an abortion, anti-abortion protests and
intimidation or interfering with a woman's ability to access the
services will be banned, he said.
The ban will also automatically apply to 150 metres around the homes
of abortion staff and health professionals who provide the services.
Anyone who violates the safe zones would faces up to $5,000 in fines
and six months in jail for a first offence. For a second or subsequent
offence, fines range from $1,000 to $10,000 and up to a year in jail.
Naqvi introduced the legislation to create the zones Wednesday.
"Our government firmly believes that the choice to access abortion
services is a deeply personal one," Naqvi said. "Patients have the
right to access abortion services safely and securely with their
privacy maintained, free from any intimidation or interference."
Naqvi said over the past several months, the government has heard
reports that anti-abortion protests have increased across the
province. In Ottawa, staff at the Morgentaler clinic and police have
reported escalated protests which have prevented women from accessing
Patients have the right to access abortion services safely and
securely with their privacy maintained, free from any intimidation or
Those activities can't jeopardize the safety and privacy of patients
and workers, Naqvi said.
"While I strongly support everyone's fundamental right to freedom of
expression, our laws must balance that right with keeping people
safe," he said.
Naqvi said the government began preparing the proposed legislation
this summer after looking at similar laws in British Columbia, Quebec
and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Sarah Hobbs Blyth, executive director of Planned Parenthood Toronto,
said the safety zones will help women access safe and legal abortion
"The safe access zone bill protects choice no matter what comes of
anti-abortion tactics now or in the future," she said. "Health equity
cannot be achieved within the four walls of a clinic alone. It begins
first with getting to the clinic."
Patrick Brown: Liberals re-opening 'divisive' debates
Anti-abortion group Campaign Life Coalition said the proposed bill
tramples free speech protections entrenched in the Charter of Rights
"Bubble zone legislation isn't about protecting women and abortion
staff workers from violence, because there is no evidence of such
violence," said Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life
Coalition in a statement. "This is about silencing peaceful pro-life
witnessing and preventing women from having access to alternatives."
Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown issued a statement
before Naqvi made his announcement Wednesday, declaring that he is
pro-choice but he also accused the government of wanting to re-open
divisive social debates.
"Kathleen Wynne has an agenda," Brown said. "That agenda is to re-open
debates about divisive social issues. No one wants this. I don't want
it. ... Let me be very clear: I am pro-choice. That includes
protecting women exercising their rights from intimidation or
Naqvi said the proposed law is about safety, not opening up a divisive
"Let me be very clear, ensuring women's safety is not a divisive
issue," he said. "It may be a divisive issue in the Conservative
caucus but you can ask any of these advocates, unfortunately women are
being harassed, are being threatened, are being intimidated, for
merely exercising their right to get health care services."
Freedom of speech and the right to freely assemble are of course
anathema to the left wing homosexuals like Premier Wynne.
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