Opposition Tories say bill to ban anti-abortion protests should include others

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s Opposition Progressive Conservatives say a government plan to ban anti−abortion protests near some health care facilities should be expanded to cover more areas and all protests, including picket lines.

Tory health critic Kathleen Cook says she plans to move an amendment to a bill the NDP government has put before the legislature.

The bill would create "buffer zones" of 50 metres to 150 metres around health facilities that provide abortion and the homes of abortion providers.

Inside those zones, people would not be allowed to block access, to try to dissuade people from getting an abortion, and more.

Cook says the NDP is trying to create a wedge issue around abortion, and says expanding the bill would ensure safety for all patients regardless of what health−care service they’re accessing.

She says expanding the ban to cover picket lines by striking workers might be challenged in court, but says family members visiting loved ones in a health facility should not have to wade through a picket line.

The amendment is unlikely to pass, as the NDP government has a majority in the legislature, with 34 of the 57 seats.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 20, 2024

The Canadian Press