Saturday, October 07, 2017

Ontario Liberals seem to backtrack on abortion clinic bill

It's not at all clear (to me, at least) why the Ontario Liberals appear unwilling to follow up with their own legislation on creating protest-free zones of 50-150 metres around abortion facilities and the homes of staff who work in them.
The Wynne government proposed the zones in order to combat a recent surge in protests, particularly outside a certain downtown Ottawa clinic, where women seeking legal abortions may experience yelling, personal insults, photographs, even spitting. The time seemed to have come for more protections, and even the opposition Conservatives seemed to be generally in favour of it (provincial Tory leader Patrick Brown used to be anti-abortion, but seems to have had a pro-choice revelation in recent years).
However, when the Conservatives proposed an immediate vote on the legislation - holding out the prospect of an easy, near-unanimous, all-party passage of the bill - the Liberals seemed to backtrack, claiming that more time was needed for health-care professionals and women's groups to review the bill (even though there has already been plenty of consultation on it, since it was first introduced last spring).
Now, maybe the Liberals are playing pre-election games, hoping to focus on Brown's inconsistency around the abortion issue. But what they are actually doing is risking alienating many members of their own persuasion. If this really is low-hanging fruit, and will have the affect of protecting women from the intimidation of "pro-lifers", then surely it should be snapped up as soon as possible. Make hay while the sun shines, don't look a gift-horse in the mouth, and many another such cliché applies.

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