Bill 216: The Abortion Protest Buffer Zone Act (Manitoba)

25/05/2020 / Action Items 
Manitoba private member's bill for bubble zone around abortion clinics

For the second time, Manitoban MLA Nahanni Fontaine has introduced a private member’s bill that would establish buffer or “bubble” zones around abortion clinics. Just like her previous attempt, her new bill (Bill 216: The Abortion Protest Buffer Zone Act) would make it illegal to express the pro-life viewpoint – or even inform anyone about abortion – outside of a facility where abortions are performed.

This is a private member’s bill and it is likely that it will not get the support of the Manitoba legislature. The previous attempt was decisively voted down. While this bill may not even get to a vote, take a moment to encourage your MLA to support access to information for women facing an unplanned pregnancy.

Despite its name, Bill 216 is not primarily concerned with limiting protests; that would be done by limits on crowd size, noise levels, etc. Instead, this bill targets a message – the pro-life message. It prevents women from being exposed to a life-affirming message or learning about their options near an abortion clinic. Abortion is often described by post-abortive women as the hardest decision of their life – this law further isolates them in this moment.

This bill goes even further than the past attempt by including buffer zones around schools. This means it would be illegal to advise a student at high school not to have an abortion. There is no equivalent prohibition, however, from pressuring her to have an abortion, despite very real concerns that women are pressured to have abortions. One study found that “well over half of the abortions had first been suggested by boyfriends or spouses. Afterwards many expressed vivid anger towards boyfriends, parents, and physicians who they felt had coerced them.” MLA Fontaine should be concerned about any woman, especially high school women, being pressured into having an abortion.

If you live in Manitoba, email your MLA today asking them to oppose Bill 216. Below is the list of MLAs who voted on the previous bill in 2018.

Voted for bubble zone in 2018:

MLA James Allum
MLA Rob Altemeyer
MLA Nahanni Fontaine
MLA Jon Gerrard
MLA Wab Kinew
MLA Dougald Lamont
MLA Cindy Lamoureux
MLA Tom Lindsay
MLA Jim Maloway
MLA Ted Marcelino (Logan)
MLA Bernadette Smith (Point-Douglas)

Voted against bubble zone in 2018:

MLA Kelly Bindle
MLA Eileen Clarke
MLA Cathy Cox
MLA Cliff Cullen
MLA Nic Curry
MLA Ralph Eichler
MLA Wayne Ewasko
MLA Cameron Friesen
MLA Kelvin Goertzen
MLA Sarah Guillemard
MLA Reg Helwer
MLA Len Isleifson
MLA Derek Johnson
MLA Scott Johnston
MLA Bob Lagasse
MLA Alan Lagiodiere
MLA Shannon Martin
MLA Colleen Mayer
MLA Brad Michaleski
MLA Andrew Micklefield
MLA Janice Morley-Lecomte
MLA Greg Nesbitt
MLA Blaine Pedersen
MLA Ron Schuler
MLA Andrew Smith (Southdale)
MLA Dennis Smook
MLA Heather Stefanson
MLA James Teitsma
MLA Jeff Wharton
MLA Ian Wishart
MLA Rick Wowchuck
Yakimoski

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