New Law Aims At Protecting Abortion Rights By Criminalizing Violent Protesters

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There are two opposing laws when it comes to abortion rights. The first is the woman’s right to choose. The second is that people have the right to protest and voice their opinion. Ottawa’s Morgentaler Clinic, however, believes that the second set of rights is violating the first. The abortion clinics maintain that there is a steady and violent stream of protests that are harming women who come for services, and that there should be legislation in place to stop it.



Abortion is legal in Canada, which is why no woman should have to fight for her right to the health care that she seeks with a harassment lawyer Toronto. The women who are having procedures at the Morgentaler Clinic have to endure a barrage of verbal and sometimes physical violence to get the healthcare that is legally allowed. Harassment and intimidation are aimed at those who enter the clinic, and despite many attempts to curb the protesters’ actions, nothing has been able to change it.


Close to both the Supreme Court of Canada and Parliament Hill, women are being subjected to abuse and no one is doing anything about it. To date, no law protects a person who is seeking or providing a medical service from the harassment that occurs at many clinics around Ottawa.

In Newfoundland and British Columbia, the same harassment is happening, but there it is illegal. Both areas have passed laws that provide protection to those who seek and provide medical procedures; this includes everything from charging those who harass patients and workers with penalties, and in extreme cases, imprisonment. Ottawa legislatures believe that it is time to put the same laws into effect to protect women in Ottawa.


Although this is an obvious move to women’s rights advocates, Attorney General Yasi Naqvi has done nothing to set the plan in motion and has continued to let the protesters reign at the Morgentaler Clinic by not passing any protective legislation. Although he insists that Canada won’t tolerate any harassment against a woman’s legal right to choose, he has taken no steps to follow through to ensure that it isn’t happening.


Since there is no legislation on the books, legal authorities can’t do anything to stop protesters except ticketing or fining them, which has had no effect. In fact, the violence has continued to increase, not decrease. In other provinces, protestors can be arrested and imprisoned if they become violent or harass people.


Not passing legislation is leaving many who are serviced by the clinics, underserved. According to a 1994 ruling, abortion clinics are protected. It created a 500-meter protester-free zone to keep protesters away from 23 hospitals and clinics where abortions were being performed. The limitation is that clinics established after the 1994 ruling, which includes the Morgentaler Clinic in Ottawa, have been left unprotected. That is why advocates are pushing for passing legislation to cover the entire province. That is only causing those who oppose abortion to “gang up” where they can, which is at the excluded clinics.


There is no doubt that people should have the right to protest when they don’t agree with something, but not to the detriment of someone else or to the law. The practices imposed by abortion protestors is causing both emotional and physical distress to the women who visit and work at the Morgentaler Clinic. This means that those who aren’t willing to take the abuse might opt not to make a choice for an abortion — a choice that they legally have.


The only way to ensure that the women of Ottawa have the right to exercise their medical options without harassment is to create legislation that will include those clinics that weren’t part of the 1994 ruling. Every woman and health care provider should be granted the same protections, no matter where they reside. To make things equitable and to prevent any further violence, it is imperative that the Attorney General enact legislation that makes it safe for everyone.

Hugh Howerton