Canadian Province May Ban Free Speech for Pro-Life People Outside Abortion Clinics

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 5, 2018   |   11:21AM   |   Calgary, Alberta

Pro-abortion politicians in Alberta, Canada proposed a bill Wednesday to stop pro-life sidewalk counselors from encouraging women to choose life for their unborn babies.

The Canadian Press reports Alberta Deputy House Leader Kathleen Ganley announced plans to introduce a buffer zone bill, which would prohibit pro-life protesters and sidewalk counselors from coming anywhere near abortion facilities in the province.

Ganley and other abortion supporters claimed the purpose of the bill is to stop women from being harassed; however, they seem to think that even telling a woman “Don’t kill your baby” is harassment.

As the Edmonton Journal reports:

In the more than two decades since the Kensington Clinic opened, patients have regularly dealt with seeing unwanted photographs and videos, as well as name-calling, [abortion clinic director Celia] Posyniak said. Protesters shout “Murderer” and “Don’t kill your baby.”

“It’s just so unacceptable,” she said, adding the issue has escalated in recent years.

Pro-life leaders of 40 Days for Life Edmonton, Alberta’s capital, said just handing someone a pro-life pamphlet within a certain distance of an abortion facility door may be considered a crime.

And the penalties for doing so could be huge. According to the report, the new Ontario buffer zone law prohibits pro-life advocates from coming within 50 meters (164 feet) of an abortion facility; first offenders could face a $5,000 fine or six months in jail.

Details of the Alberta bill have not been released yet.

Here’s more from the Canadian Press:

Earlier Wednesday, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said intimidation of patients at abortion clinics in Alberta is on the rise. That is something no one should have to tolerate, she said.

“This is not about freedom of speech,” said Hoffman. “This is about deliberate targeting by intimidation, shame, harassment and bullying of women who are often vulnerable.

“That is completely unacceptable. Alberta women should have the right to access the care that’s right for them, including safe access to abortion services.”

… If it were to pass, Alberta would join British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador in creating safe zones to keep protesters away from patients.

The Campaign Life Coalition, a national pro-life group involved in protecting free speech, has criticized buffer zones for blocking women’s access to information about abortion alternatives.

There also are many doubts about the level of harassment that abortion activists claim there is.

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This week, a police department in Ontario charged an abortion activist with mischief allegedly for making a false harassment report against a pro-life advocate, CTV News Kitchener reports. The woman claimed a pro-life advocate in Kitchener threw paint on her and called her a “murderer” near a local abortion facility; but after investigating, police said the attack never happened.

Buffer zones are not really about protecting women. What they actually do is protect the pro-abortion agenda by stopping pro-life advocates from praying and providing information to women before they walk into the abortion facility. Often pro-life sidewalk counselors can help direct pregnant women to pregnancy resource centers that offer education and material help for themselves and their unborn babies.

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.