Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Law to Create Abortion Clinic Safe Zones to Be Fast Tracked

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Law to Create Abortion Clinic Safe Zones to Be Fast Tracked

Article excerpt

Abortion safe zone law to be fast tracked

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TORONTO - Ontario is fast tracking legislation to create safe zones around abortion clinics with all-party support, after the bill's introduction led to accusations of political posturing on various sides.

The legislation would create bubbles of between 50 and 150 metres around Ontario's eight abortion clinics, in which anti-abortion protests, advising a person not to get an abortion, and intimidation or interfering with a woman's ability to access the services will be banned.

All parties agreed Monday to shortened times for debate and committee hearings with an eye to passing the bill next Wednesday, Oct. 25.

The bill's introduction earlier this month inflamed political tensions between the governing Liberals and the Opposition Progressive Conservatives.

PC Leader Patrick Brown published a video moments before the Liberals' announcement saying he is pro-choice and his party would be supporting the bill. He accused the Liberals of trying to re-open debates about "divisive social issues."

The Liberals shot back that only within Brown's party was the issue divisive -- though a few members on the Liberal back benches have "green light" endorsements from anti-abortion group Campaign Life Coalition as well.

The Progressive Conservatives brought forward a motion the next day to pass the bill immediately, with no debate or committee hearings, and the Liberals declined.

In response, the Tories accused the Liberals of playing wedge politics with the issue, suggesting the Liberals had hoped that drawing it out would expose divisions within the PC party.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Monday that all the politicking around this issue is "distasteful."

"It's disappointing that the Wynne Liberals decided to try to get a gotcha moment with the Conservatives and then they did their manoeuvring," she said. …

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