Ontario lawmakers attacked pro-life advocates’ freedom of speech Wednesday by passing a bill to prohibit pro-lifers from reaching out to women outside abortion facilities.
BT City News reports pro-abortion lawmakers rushed a vote on the controversial legislation Wednesday.
The new law will set up buffer zones of 50 meters (164 feet) to 150 meters (492 feet) around abortion facilities as well as the homes of abortionists and their staff. Pro-life advocates who violate the law could face fines of up to $10,000 and six months in jail. Reports indicate that it will not take effect immediately because the zones will be set by regulation.
The pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition fought against the pro-abortion law throughout the legislative process, speaking at committee hearings and collecting thousands of petition signatures in opposition to it.
Calling the law a direct, “totalitarian” attack on freedom of speech, the pro-life organization said it may file a legal challenge.
“This law, which was drafted by Planned Parenthood and their allies in the abortion business, using feeling-based anecdotes and hearsays, lacked any real evidence that backed their claims of the war-like atmosphere outside abortion facilities,” said Jim Hughes, national president of the pro-life organization.
“This law is the first step in silencing and criminalizing speech that is not the official opinion of the state. The whole process of fast-tracking this bill, and slandering pro-life people throughout, was a shame,” Hughes continued.
Meanwhile, pro-abortion politicians cheered when the legislation passed.
Here’s more from the report:
Attorney General Yasir Naqvi cheered that all three parties worked together to pass the legislation on a sped-up timeline.
“We as legislators have passed a very important piece of legislation ensuring that women have safe access to health-care services like reproductive health and abortion services,” he said. “We worked on this bill on a very short time frame to ensure that we protect women.” …
The law will not come into force immediately, however, as the zones need to be set through regulations, Naqvi said.
There will be an application process for other health-care providers or pharmacists, as some Ontario pharmacies recently started offering the abortion pill, Mifegymiso.
Abortion activists claim buffer zones help protect women, but they really can hurt them.
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Mary Ellen Douglas, Ontario president of Campaign Life Coalition, said the law will block women’s access to information about abortion alternatives.
“Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women and now this law will prevent women from receiving help and support from people who care deeply about the best outcome for both mother and child, something Planned Parenthood doesn’t care about,” Douglas said.
Pro-life advocates in America have been fighting to overturn city and state buffer zones for years. In 2014, pro-lifers won a huge victory when the United States Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 35-foot Massachusetts buffer zone law.
The high court ruled that the buffer zone – much smaller than the new zones in Ontario — unconstitutionally restricted pro-life advocates’ freedom of speech.