By Emily Chan, Canadian Civil Liberties Assoc.
April 14, 2022
In 1995, British Columbia became the first province in Canada to introduce a law creating “safe access zones” – commonly called “bubble zones” – around facilities related to providing abortion services.
Nearly three decades later, provinces are drawing from the same toolbox to create bubble zones around other healthcare facilities, following widespread protests against COVID-19 safety measures.
In light of these developments, here is a look at what bubble zones are, how they originated, and why there’s renewed interest in them today.
January 5, 2022
Kate Wahl, Madeleine Ennis
Abortions are common and essential medical procedures; one in three women in Canada have an abortion in their lifetime. Access to this care helps people plan and space out their pregnancies, providing vital benefits to individuals, families and society.
Pandemic-related travel restrictions and facility closures initially jeopardized access to abortion care. However, the pandemic has also become a catalyst for more accessible ways to deliver abortion care, such as providing medical abortions, which are drug-induced rather than surgical, via telemedicine.
MLAs share emotional stories as Nova Scotia considers abortion bubble zones
MLAs from all parties voiced their support for a bill that would restrict anti-abortion protests
Taryn Grant · CBC News
Posted: Mar 05, 2020
A bill aimed at restricting anti-abortion protests in Nova Scotia received wide support in the legislature Wednesday, with many members sharing heartfelt speeches in favour of a woman's right to access reproductive health care, free from harassment or intimidation.
"In my own life, this is a really resonant issue," said NDP MLA Claudia Chender, who tabled the bill Tuesday.
Graphic Anti-Abortion Signs Feel Like Visual Terrorism, But Should They Be Banned?
*Trigger Warning: This article discusses the graphic imagery used by some anti-abortion protesters*
by Katherine Singh
Sep 26, 2018
It was a typical Friday afternoon in July for Apiecalypse Now! owner Jennifer Bundock. The vegan pizzeria owner was driving to her east end Toronto location when she received a text from the manager of her west end location: “We’ve got a situation.”
Anti-abortion activists had set up shop in front of the restaurant with graphic signs. She pulled a U-turn and headed back to the Bloor Street spot, passing the old Honest Ed’s lot and pulling up 10 minutes later in front of her restaurant. Then she started live-streaming on Instagram. In a now-viral video, Bundock exits her car and confronts a group of anti-abortion activists, who were standing outside of her restaurant in plain view of the front window, holding large signs depicting dismembered and bloody fetuses. What the video didn’t show? Bundock’s customers, who were attempting to stand in front of the protestors’ signs when she arrived, trying to shield the images from passersby as well as the daycare and Girl Scout office around the corner.
Explainer: what are abortion clinic safe-access zones and where do they exist in Australia?
June 14, 2018
New South Wales recently became the fifth Australian jurisdiction to enact legislation that establishes safe-access zones around abortion clinics.
The legislation is a response to picketing of clinics by anti-abortion protesters for more than two decades. These protesters characterise themselves as “sidewalk counsellors” but their conduct has included verbal abuse, threats, impeding entry to clinics, displaying violent imagery and acts of “disturbing theatre” such as pushing a blood-splattered doll in a pram.
Safe-access zones are sometimes called bubble zones because they create a bubble around an abortion clinic in which certain conduct is prohibited. NSW will now impose safe-access zones of 150 metres around clinics that provide abortions.
'They made me feel like a criminal for having an abortion'
By Jean Mackenzie, Victoria Derbyshire programme
10 April 2018
Anti-abortion campaigners have been accused of harassing women outside abortion clinics across the UK. With one council now deciding whether to ban them, some women say they are still haunted by protesters' behaviour.
"They said I was a murderer... that I was killing something with a heartbeat," Lisa Jones tells the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.
She says she was harassed a number of years ago by anti-abortion protesters surrounding the entrance to an abortion clinic in Ealing, west London, where she was being seen.
No-go abortion clinic zones in Alberta bill
News Apr 5, 2018
EDMONTON — Alberta has introduced legislation to keep protesters at least 50 metres away from abortion clinics, and to make it illegal for demonstrators to video, record audio or take pictures of people entering or leaving the building.
The province would also, if asked, designate similar no-go zones around homes and offices of doctors and other staff who provide abortions.
Bill to set 50-metre, no-protester zone around Alberta abortion clinics
'It is a great day for women who need this': Proposed legislation carries $10,000 fine for repeat offenders
Michelle Bellefontaine · CBC News
Posted: Apr 05, 2018
Protesters who repeatedly violate a "safe zone" proposed for Alberta's two stand-alone abortion clinics could face a maximum $10,000 fine under proposed legislation introduced Thursday.
Bill 9, the Protecting Choice for Women Accessing Health Care Act, would mean protesters could not stand within 50-metre zones of the Kensington Clinic in Calgary and Women's Health Options in Edmonton.
Buffer zones urged as Lent anti-abortion vigils target clinics
Calls for new legislation to be brought in after women report being left frightened and anxious
Sat 17 Mar 2018
Women’s groups have renewed calls for buffer zones around clinics as anti-abortion campaigners increase their activities to coincide with Lent.
The US anti-abortion group 40 Days For Life is currently holding 12 vigils outside clinics in cities across the UK, including Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff. The vigils, which will run until Palm Sunday (25 March), are staffed with volunteers, who carry placards and hand out literature attempting aim to dissuade women from terminating pregnancies.
Why buffer zones around abortion clinics do not threaten the right to protest
February 13, 2018
Ealing council in West London could soon set up a buffer zone to limit the harassment faced by patients of a local abortion clinic. The clinic is run by the reproductive health charity Marie Stopes, one of many abortion providers across the UK regularly targeted by anti-abortion protestors. In mid-January, councillors voted to launch a public consultation about the creation of a Public Space Protection Order, or buffer zone, around the clinic.
Common forms of anti-abortion protest include public prayer, hymns, and chanting. Protesters also distribute leaflets exaggerating the risks of abortion, display posters including images of aborted foetuses, strew