Bubble zone proposal rejected by Manitoba legislature

21/10/2021 / Abortion 

An attempt to introduce a bubble zone in Manitoba was voted down earlier this month, for the second time in the last five years! NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine brought forward the Abortion Protest Buffer Zone Act (Bill 207) after a similar bill was voted down in 2018. While Fontaine continues to push for this unnecessary limit on freedom of expression, thankfully other Manitoba MLAs have refused to silence pro-life expression.

Like all bubble zones, a major issue with this one was how one-sided it would be. The bill prohibits the expression of disapproval of abortion but allows approval of abortion in the same zone. This means two women could stand side-by-side outside an abortion clinic, one with a sign that says, “I don’t regret my abortion” and the other with a sign that says, “I regret my abortion” and only the latter would be illegal, despite both being a statement of personal experience.

Beyond the impact on those wishing to express their pro-life beliefs, these laws do nothing to help women. It is already illegal to intimidate or harass women, regardless of where they are. All a bubble zone does is try to prevent women from hearing one specific viewpoint: that the child in the womb deserves its mother’s protection and that there are other options  besides abortion.

Bubble zone advocates claim to be looking out for women’s best interests. They want access to abortion to be as easy as possible, without women facing any hint of moral conflict. But that view makes them wrongly view information as a barrier to access. That is a mistake that assumes women are weak and need to be protected from information. In fact, every woman deserves to have access to information about all aspects of abortion. That information should not be only what an abortion clinic might explain about the actual procedure, but also information about the humanity of the pre-born child, their value as a unique human being, and the availability of support for those who choose to parent.

Informed choices require information. Silencing one message doesn’t increase autonomy, it decreases the support available to women.

If you live in Manitoba, take a moment to send a message to your MLA thanking them for voting down the Abortion Protest Buffer Zone Act and asking them to continue to stand against further attempts to introduce bubble zones in Manitoba.

Voted against:

Cox, Hon. Cathy
Cullen, Hon. Cliff
Eichler, Hon. Ralph
Ewasko, Hon. Wayne
Fielding, Hon. Scott
Friesen, Hon. Cameron
Gordon, Hon. Audrey
Guenter, Josh
Guillemard, Hon. Sarah
Helwer, Hon. Reg
Isleifson, Len
Johnson, Hon. Derek
Johnston, Scott
Lagassé, Bob
Lagimodiere, Hon. Alan
Martin, Shannon
Michaleski, Brad
Micklefield, Andrew
Morley‑Lecomte, Janice
Nesbitt, Greg
Pedersen, Blaine
Piwniuk, Doyle
Reyes, Hon. Jon
Schuler, Hon. Ron
Smith, Andrew
Smook, Dennis
Teitsma, James
Wharton, Hon. Jeff
Wishart, Ian
Wowchuk, Rick

Voted in favour:

Adams, Danielle
Altomare, Nello
Asagwara, Uzoma
Brar, Diljeet
Bushie, Ian
Fontaine, Nahanni
Gerrard, Hon. Jon
Kinew, Wab
Lamont, Dougald
Lamoureux, Cindy
Lathlin, Amanda
Lindsey, Tom
Maloway, Jim
Marcelino, Malaya
Moses, Jamie
Naylor, Lisa
Sala, Adrien
Sandhu, Mintu
Wasyliw, Mark
Wiebe, Matt

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