Bubble Zone Law



October 10, 2017
The Ontario government is out with its long-promised “bubble zone” legislation to prohibit protests around abortion clinics. It’s called the “Safe Access to Abortion Services Act“, and it sets strict limits around where protests can take place. The restriction around abortion clinics is automatic; a 50-metre zone that can be expanded up to 150 metres. Hospitals and places where abortions are performed, or where the abortion pill is prescribed can also apply to get an “access zone” designation. The law prohibits all pro-life messaging, without exception, in those zones. The bill also responds to a court ruling earlier this year; a ruling in favour of ARPA and pro-life blogger Patricia Maloney. That ruling said the Ontario government couldn’t arbitrarily withhold all abortion statistics under the Freedom of Information Act.

We Need a Law articling student Tabitha Ewert says the new bill addresses that issue in two ways. “It replaces the complete exclusion of abortion information with (the notion) that information related to abortion cannot be released if it identifies individuals or a facility.” And she says the second exclusion is “a bit of an unknown”; that provision prohibits the release of any information that “could reasonably be expected to threaten the health or safety of an individual or the security of a facility.” She says that part of the law is still being analyzed.

ARPA is looking at various options to oppose the bill. Ewert says initially, those efforts will focus on lobbying MPP’s to vote against it, but if the bill does pass, there is “a potential for a legal challenge.” If you live in Ontario, you can send an EasyMail to your MPP on this issue at this link.

Bill 163: Bubble Zone (Ontario), Bubble Zones, Ontario Email Us 

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