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Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Case for the Bubble Zone

Recently, Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada completed a survey about clinic harrassment with an eye to understanding what types of legal intervention may be helpful. Specifically, they wondered whether "bubble zone" legislation that exists in British Columbia could be a useful model for other provinces to adopt to protect their clinics. The bubble zone mandates a perimeter around facilities that provide abortion within which protesters cannot enter. It is a "safe zone" for patients and staff, and means that they will not have to face protester harrassment and violence. Protesters and sidewalk proselytizers can do whatever they want to do outside the zone.

Now magazine in Toronto recently published a great article by Nick Van Der Graaf that refers to this study and describes sidewalk harrassment from a clinic escort's point of view. The article is interesting because it suggests that bubble zone legislation may be the key to balancing the right of women to access medical services without harassment or violence against the right of anti-choice protesters for free speech. I think he makes a great case in favour of the bubble zone law - the protesters get to protest but women and clinic workers remain safe.

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