OTTAWA, Ontario – Pro-life advocates are making plans to address a new law in Ontario that will create “bubble zones” around abortion facilities and likely force the National March for Life in Ottawa to find a new route.
The new law, which takes effect Feb. 1, establishes a 50-meter, no-protest zone around eight abortion facilities in Ontario and a 15-meter zone around the homes of doctors and others involved in providing abortion services. Beginning in February, hospitals and pharmacies also can apply to have so-called bubble zones implemented around their premises.
The new law makes it an offense inside a restricted zone to show any type of disapproval “concerning issues related to abortion services, by any means, including oral, written or graphic means.” First-time offenders face fines of up to $5,000 and six months in jail.
The National March for Life, which attracts more than 20,000 pro-life advocates each May, has traditionally passed in front of the Morgentaler abortion facility in downtown Ottawa. The new law likely will force organizers to find a new route because it will be illegal for people to carry a pro-life sign or speak against abortion within 50 meters of any abortion clinic.
Ottawa Police Sgt. Martin Groulx of the special events team said, as he understands it, something as simple as entering a bubble zone while wearing a pro-life T-shirt or cap would be a violation.
Groulx has been in contact with organizers of the march and will meet with them after police receive guidelines on how they are expected to enforce the new law. He anticipates an educational period, but those who have been warned can expect the police to enforce the new law, he said. March organizers say they have “an excellent and long-standing relationship,” with Groulx.
Read more at Crux.