The Ontario Bubble Zone Law

Source: chicagotribune.com

The Ontario legislature disenfranchised me and many citizens in late October 2017. We stand against the large number of abortions in our province. Society should provide viable alternatives to assist women (and men) distressed by unexpected pregnancies. Instead, the “bubble zone” law hides the problem.

I will explain here that there are significant arguments against abortion on demand, that everyone who supports free speech should abhor this law, and that the impetus for this law was deceitful.

Source: apacanada.ca

There are compelling reasons to oppose abortion. The issue is far from settled. Life Canada polls show that most Canadians are uncomfortable with the absence of any law restricting abortion at any time during pregnancy. A majority favour some limits on abortion.

The terrible, bloody reality of 100,000 unborn babies aborted every year under the guise of choice, sexual liberation, and so-called women’s rights is an affront to our civilization. Everyone’s human rights suffer when society treats any of us—madein the image and likeness of God—as disposable.

Some may disagree, but they do not have the natural right to silence an opposing view. All freedoms are threatened when the state mutes selected opinions about a pressing social and moral issue. You should be profoundly concerned about the disproportionate scope of this law, whether or not you support abortions.

March for Life. Source: campaignlifecoalition.com

The bubble zone law could effectively kill the National March for Life held each May in Ottawa. There is no conceivable route through the streets of downtown Ottawa more than fifty metres from a pharmacy and the abortion clinic on Bank Street. The law could also suppress the annual Life Chain as well as the Forty Days for Life events that have been a peaceful witness against abortion for years.

Source: slate.com

If the government restricts peaceful and otherwise lawful assembly in so many locations around a city—50 to 150 metres from pharmacies, hospitals, abortion facilities, and residences of abortion providers—on one matter of public debate, where else might it decide to enforce a gag rule?

The mild annoyance of pro-life witnesses in no way justifies the bubble zone law. The National March for Life is a peaceful protest where thousands of Canadians show their opposition to the killing of human life in the womb. Any incidents of screams, threats, and pushing have come from counter-protestors such as Femen demonstrators.

A protester stands outside the Morgentaler Clinic at 65 Bank Street in Ottawa . Source: ottawacitizen.com

News media have misrepresented problems at the Ottawa Bank St. location. The stories report people with sandwich boards spitting and harassing women entering or leaving the abortion facility.

There is, in fact, only one man who wears a sandwich board and he is not affiliated with 40 Days for Life. This man is frequently spit upon and sworn at, the exact opposite of what the media have stated. He has had his life threatened. Participants on the front lines of 40 Days for Life and the Life Chain also report several instances of receiving curses, threats, and worse.

Admittedly, an overly enthusiastic young man entered the clinic a few times and sprinkled holy water. The police should deal with people who are causing problems under the current laws that prohibit trespassing, harassment, and assault. They should not prevent peaceful and respectful protest.

Source: guelphforlife.com

All three major Ontario political parties should have reconsidered this draconian bubble zone bill before passing it this week. How free is our province if advocates for its most vulnerable are literally denied access to the public square?

I join all fair-minded Ontarians who ask the legislature to repeal this law and restore free speech regarding abortion. This matter is certainly not settled for many in our city and our country.

Terrence Prendergast, SJ is the Archbishop of Ottawa and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall..

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