'Buffer zone' around Sask. health care facilities being considered for anti-abortion protests
REGINA -- The provincial government said it will look at the opposition NDP’s private member bill that aims to limit anti-abortion protests within “buffer zones” around health care facilities.
“I do want to look at the legislation to make sure that it fulfills the public policy concerns that have been expressed by the opposition, and have a look at what other provinces have done in that regard,” said Gordon Wyant, Minister of Justice and Attorney General.
“I want to make sure that people can access the medical services they’re entitled to, free of harassment and free of intimidation.”
The NDP introduced the bill on Wednesday. It aims to ensure Saskatchewan woman can make reproductive health choices, including abortion, without facing demonstrators outside the hospital or clinic door.
“People present, often with signs, is something that you will see, and those signs and those slogans are often very offensive in nature and very intimidating to women who are looking to access this medical service,” said NDP MLA Jennifer Bowes on Wednesday.
The bill states pro-life demonstrators would have to stay back 150 meters or face a $5,000 fine.
“It also includes harassment by means of telephone or online harassment,” said Bowes. “That’s something that we’ve heard quite clearly is a concern as well.”
Wyant said Canadians have the right to protest, but they also have the right to have access to these services free of intimidation, so there is a fine line to make sure such a bill balances both of those rights.
With files from CTV News Regina's Wayne Mantyka