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Ontario AG introduces bill that would ban pro-life protesters outside abortion clinics

(YouTube/NaqviOttawaCentre)Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi appears in a screen capture of a video from NaqviOttawaCentre.

Ontario's Attorney General Yasir Naqvi has introduced a bill that is aimed at banning pro-life protesters from standing in front of abortion clinics across the province.

The legislation, known as Bill 163, will prohibit pro-life activity within 50 meters of the eight abortion centers in the province, and the distance could be increased to 150 meters upon request, according to Life Site News.

A 150-meter bubble zone would also be established around the homes of all abortionists and abortion center staff, Naqvi stated.

"In an increasingly polarized society, it is critical that we protect a woman's right to choose," Naqvi stated in a press conference on Wednesday before tabling the bill. "It is critical those protections be enshrined in law to ensure that they cannot be rolled back," he added.

Naqvi further noted that the bubble zone would move with the abortion providers to protect them wherever they are.

Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, contended that the proposed law will hurt women instead of protecting them. He accused Liberals of "mounting an attack on women by seeking to prevent pro-lifers from offering mothers accurate information and alternatives to the violence of abortion."

"Bubble zone legislation isn't about protecting women and abortion staff workers from violence, because there is no evidence of such violence," he added.

Hughes further argued that the proposal is "about silencing peaceful pro-life witnessing and preventing women from having access to alternatives."

Under the proposed law, other healthcare locations that provide abortion, including the abortion pill, will be also be allowed to apply for a bubble zone.

Those who are found to be in violation of the law could be fined $5,000 and be jailed for up to six months for the first offense. Those who are convicted for the second time could be jailed for up to a year and be fined up to $10,000.

Naqvi did not dispute the assertions that the bill is more far-reaching than the bubble zone laws that are currently in effect in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Quebec. "We like to think we are leading in the country," he told reporters.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson asked the province to create the law back in May, citing reports of patients and staff being confronted while trying to access the Morgentaler Clinic on Bank Street.

Louise Harbour, executive director of the pro-life group Action Life Ottawa, told CBC at the time that there should be a more detailed investigation into the alleged harassment outside the abortion clinic.

The attorney general revealed that the ministry already has plans for working with police forces across Ontario to instruct them on enforcing the proposed measure.

He said that enforcing the new regulations will involve the establishment of demarcation lines of the zones for Ontario's eight centers so that people will know to "govern themselves accordingly."

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