Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation Canada on the creation of 50-metre “safe zones” outside abortion clinics, pharmacies providing medical abortion medication, and abortion providers’ homes in Ontario:
We applaud the passage of the Protecting a Woman’s Right to Access Abortion Services Act (Bill 163) to help ensure patients and their health care providers can obtain or provide abortion care without fear of threats, intimidation, or violence.
Safe zones like this reduce the very real threats of violence and intimidation that abortion providers and their patients face every day. And they do so while continuing to respect the free speech rights of anti-abortion protesters to distribute literature or engage in conversations with whomever they choose outside that minimal space.
Since the Morgentaler decision legalized abortion in 1988, anti-abortion extremists have used violence, threats, and intimidation in an attempt to stop patients from accessing abortion care and doctors from providing such care. In Ontario, protesters regularly approach and attempt to intimidate, shame, and bully women and their families as they enter reproductive health care facilities. Abortion providers are similarly targeted as they arrive at work.
Ontario women and health care providers deserve respect, including the space and safety to obtain or provide constitutionally protected health care free from intimidation or harassment.
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers. Our members include clinics, hospitals and physicians who together care for more than half the women who choose abortion in Canada each year. NAF Canada works to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care, which promotes health and justice for women.