In the past six years, several provinces have passed so-called “bubble zone” laws. These laws prohibit pro-life expression within a 50-meter radius around abortion clinics and some hospitals. The one-sided nature of these laws means that two people could stand side-by-side outside an abortion clinic, one promoting abortion and one cautioning against it, and only the first would be allowed to stay. Similarly, a woman quietly holding a sign that says “I regret my abortion” would be acting illegally, while another woman could legally wave a sign saying “I don’t regret my abortion.”
These prohibitions aren’t about protecting women’s safety, or even peace of mind, but about preventing women from hearing anything other than full of approval of abortion. For more information about the problems with bubble zones, read here.
Below is an overview of which provinces have these bubble zone laws and what generally is illegal under them. Banned activities include everything from physical interference to simply giving information or showing disapproval. Please note that this is not a comprehensive summary of these laws, but a general explanation. Should you need more detailed information, the titles of the acts are included.
- Act title: Access to Abortion Services Act, [RSBC 1996] c. 1.
- What is illegal: protesting, besetting, physically interfering, and intimidating.
- Act title: Protecting Choice for Women Accessing Health Care Act, SA 2018, c. P-26.83.
- What is illegal: advising, persuading, informing, protesting, filming, continuously observing, engaging in threatening conduct, or intimidating.
- Act title: Safe Access to Abortion Services Act, 2017, S.O. 2017, c. 19.
- What is illegal: advising, persuading, informing, showing disapproval, continuously observing, intimidating, physically interfering, or filming.
- Act title: Loi visant à accroître les pouvoirs de la Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec, à encadrer les pratiques commerciales en matière de médicaments ainsi qu’à protéger l’accès aux services d’interruption volontaire de grossesse, Projet de loi no 92.
- What is illegal: demonstrating in a way that attempts to dissuade a woman or a provider.
Newfoundland and Labrador
- Act title: Access to Abortion Services Act, SNL 2016, c. A-1.02.
- What is illegal: continuously observing a facility, persistently requesting a patient to refrain from accessing abortion services, filming, protesting, physical interfering, and intimidating.
- Act title: Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Care Act, S.N.S. 2020, c. 5.
- What is illegal: advising, persuading, informing, protesting, interfering, continuously observing, intimidating, filming, or impeding.