Abortion Clinics Will Now Have Safe Zones

For those who do not know, there is a law that is currently being implemented in Ontario which is working to create “safe zones” around abortion clinics and the homes of those providing these services. These safe zones have not come into effect yet, but they will protect 8 of the 14 clinics in Ontario, and protestors will not be allowed in these zones. Depending on the clinic, there will be a minimum of a 50-metre to a maximum of 150-metre safe zone surrounding the clinic and an automatic 150-metre safe zone for doctors and associates working at the clinics. 

This is a small victory for women across the province who are seeking care from abortion clinics, due to the common and constant fear of being harassed by those who believe that abortion should still be illegal and that a fetus should have more rights than the women carrying it. Women have the right to reproductive health care and shouldn’t have to fear being traumatized or being shamed for their personal decisions. 

Abortion has always been a fairly taboo subject, but it is time that we talk about the fact that abortion is very much legal in Canada and that it is a procedure that happens more than it is talked about. Many believe that women who obtain abortions are irresponsible and should not have the choice of whether or not they want to keep a child. However, there are many other factors that come into play. Women could potentially be choosing abortion because of sexual assault, financial struggles, inability to care for the child, or knowing that they are not ready to have a baby and that it is unfair to bring another life into the world when the baby will not get everything that is deserved. This decision is one of the hardest decisions that a woman could be faced with, and saying that she is “murdering” her unborn child does not make seeking help any easier. Creating a safe space for women and welcoming them to these clinics is something that is absolutely necessary. 

Abortion clinics also provide many other services other than abortion. So, by creating these safe zones, women that are coming into these clinics to received sexual health care are also protected. Many abortion clinics throughout Ontario offer services like D & C (Dilation and Curettage) procedures and counselling, access to birth control prescriptions, IUD (Intrauterine Device) insertion & removal, and ultrasound imaging. These clinics are offering a wide variety of services that women have the legal right to, resulting in protestors not only affecting people obtaining abortions but those who are receiving other services provided. 

Many pro-life advocates are saying that this ban is hindering their right to freedom of speech. The issue here is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion when it comes to abortion, but there is a difference between freedom of speech and invading a space that is supposed to be safe for women and ultimately shoving your own opinion down someone else’s throat, unwanted. I am not here to say that pro-choice is better than pro-life, or vice versa, but there needs to be respect for both choices. If an individual is against abortion and feels the need to protest and have their opinion heard then so be it, but it is important to do it in a neutral space where it is not affecting women who are already making a difficult decision. Protesting in front of these clinics will most likely not change the mindset of those who are reaching out for these services, but it will only emphasize the labels and stigma surrounding the procedure and choice while shaming someone for their choice. 

It is 2017 and we have to embrace the fact that there are many people in this world with varying opinions on every topic, such as abortion. There are individuals who are pro-life and then there are those who are pro-choice. If you are pro-life and believe that having a child is something that you know you can do, then that is a decision that everyone should respect because that was your own personal decision, but the same should go for those who choose abortion. Let’s respect the women who know that terminating their pregnancy is the best option and support them through this very hard time in their life. We should all be working together to support and empower women and their right to choose; by banning protests outside of clinics we are enabling women to feel safe and free of stigma while they make a life-changing decision.