comScore Ontario to Ban Protests Outside of Abortion Clinics | The Mary Sue
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Ontario to Make It Illegal to Protest Outside of Abortion Clinics

One of the hardest parts about trying to get an abortion are the protesters that can line up outside of clinics spouting cruel words and lies at women while trying to stop them from doing something legal. The choice to have an abortion is already a difficult one without seeing graphic pictures of fetuses and being told you’re going to burn in hell. Thankfully, the province of Ontario will be changing this.

Buzzfeed News reported that this new bill, the Safe Access to Abortion Services Act, establishes “safe access zones” of up to 150 meters (almost 500 feet) around the eight clinics that provide abortions in Ontario. Protesters will not be allowed to interfere with a woman seeking an abortion in these zones and face up to a $5,000 fine or six months in prison for a first-time offense. These protections have also been extended to the homes of staff working at the clinic.

The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada called the bill a “huge relief.”

“It’s very intimidating because the mere presence of protesters can make patients feel judged or shamed, as well as worry about their privacy and safety,” said Joyce Arthur, executive director of the organization, in a statement.

“Unfortunately, some protesters go beyond the pale and will approach and harangue women and their companions. They may shout nasty things at them, and try to impede their path or foist unwanted literature on them.”

Planned Parenthood of Toronto took to Twitter to show their support for the bill.

This bill was passed with support from all three of parties in Ontario’s legislature showing that it is possible to come together and make decisions that can benefit women’s health and safety. Who knew?

“Our government believes that every woman in Ontario has the right to make decisions about her own health care – and she deserves to do so freely, without fear,” said Ontario attorney general Yasir Naqvi. “This legislation sends a clear message that we will always stand up for a woman’s right to choose.”

While it is unlikely that such legislation could be passed right now, considering who has control of the government, but it is a good goal to strive for to create an environment that does not punish women for making a legal choice.

(via Buzzfeed, image: Shutterstock.com )

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