Manitoba NDP private members bill calls for safety zones at abortion facilities

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba New Democrats want a law to protect the safety of women who seek abortions and the people who work at health-care facilities that provide them.

NDP Opposition member Nahanni Fontaine has introduced a private members bill that calls for prohibiting protesters from coming within set buffer zones around abortion clinics and hospitals.

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She says the Safe Access to Abortion Act would strengthen access to abortions and protect health workers from harassment and abuse.

If passed, Manitoba would follow in the steps of other provinces.

In May 2017 the Ontario government introduced legislation following cases of harassment and Alberta has passed a similar law.

Fontaine says in the past Manitoba physicians and nurses have been victims of anti-abortion violence.

"Manitoba women have the right to access the essential reproductive health care they need safely and without harassment," Fontaine said Thursday in a release.

"Any harassment, coercion or abuse directed toward patients by demonstrators is unacceptable. No woman should be deterred from accessing health care based purely on ideological agendas."

Private members bills rarely become law without the support of the government. (CTV Winnipeg, The Canadian Press)

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