Alberta Passes Bill Creating No-Protest Zones around Abortion Clinics

By Bennett, Dean | The Canadian Press, May 30, 2018 | Go to article overview

Alberta Passes Bill Creating No-Protest Zones around Abortion Clinics


Bennett, Dean, The Canadian Press


Alberta passes abortion clinic protest bill

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EDMONTON - Alberta lawmakers have passed a bill mandating no-protest zones around abortion clinics after a vote in which the Opposition United Conservatives once again walked out of the chamber in protest.

"Women's rights are human rights," Health Minister Sarah Hoffman told the legislature Wednesday before the house passed Bill 9 by a 45-1 margin in third and final reading.

"No woman should face bullying or harassment when accessing health care, and no woman should have to live in fear of threats, intimidation or violence."

The bill bans protesters from standing, demonstrating or taking pictures within at least 50 metres of an abortion clinic. There are similar restrictions to prevent abortion doctors and staff from being harassed at their other offices or at home.

Police have the power to arrest suspected violators at the scene and penalties for individuals run as high as a $10,000 fine or a year in jail or both.

The NDP were joined in passing the bill by the Alberta party, Liberal David Swann, and Independent member Richard Starke.

The lone dissenter was Independent Derek Fildebrandt, who said women and staff should not be harassed outside clinics, but said the bill goes too far in limiting free speech.

The United Conservative caucus again refused to participate in the debate and walked out en masse twice during votes.

UCP Leader Jason Kenney is against abortion and said his caucus would not debate or vote on the bill, calling it nothing more than divisive political gamesmanship by Premier Rachel Notley's government.

His caucus walked of the house a total of 14 times when the bill came up in the house over the last two months, and only one member, Angela Pitt, spoke to it in debate.

Politicians on all sides criticized the UCP for failing to engage. …

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