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New legislation creates abortion safe access zones in N.L.

Buffer zones have been established around health care facilities that provide abortion services in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Anti-abortion protesters stand in front of the Athena Health Clinic in St. John's in this TC Media file photo.

The Access to Abortion Services Regulations will still allow people who are opposed to abortions to peacefully protest but they must do so at a distance.

Access zones will cover up to a maximum of 50 metres around facilities and are fixed at 10 metres around doctors’ offices.

The regulations also extend to the homes of health professionals and clinic owners, creating safe access zones 160 metres out from the boundaries of their properties.

“The intent of this initiative is to balance the rights of people to safe, unimpeded access to this health service and respect for the dignity of individuals accessing and providing services in abortion clinics, with the rights of others to protest or express dissent,” Justice and Public Safety Minister Andrew Parsons said in a news release today.

People who break the law may receive a fine of up to $10,000. The legislation also allows the Supreme Court to grant an injunction restricting a person or group from holding a protest within the zones.  

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