By John Sikkema | 7 March 2018
LIFE SITE — A new law took effect in Ontario last month. It is now an offence, punishable by punitive fines and prison, to “attempt to advise or persuade” someone to refrain from having an abortion, or to “attempt to inform a person concerning issues related to abortion services”, or to “attempt to perform an act of disapproval [of abortion]” in any way, if the attempt is made within 50m (or up to 150m) of an abortion clinic. ‘Access zones’ can also be created around hospitals and pharmacies by regulation, up to 150m in every direction.
Informing? Persuading? Disapproving? Imagine, “You’re under arrest for attempted persuasion…“ It is also an offence to “persistently request”, by any means and in any place, that an Ontario abortion provider “refrain from providing abortion services”, no matter how peaceful or polite your requests.
The consequence of this law’s viewpoint discrimination was on stark display in Ottawa last week. ARPA is two blocks from the Morgentaler Clinic, so I ventured out see what might be happening on the first day the law came into effect. Just across the street from the Clinic, people were taking signs out of a bag. I thought it might be a bold group of pro-lifers. In fact, it was the opposite. Two police officers walked over and checked out their signs. Evidently, they were satisfied that the signs were sufficiently pro-abortion, since these demonstrators were allowed to stay. “I do not regret my abortion”, one woman’s sign said. Erase the word ‘not’ and she could be arrested. […]