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Manitoba introduces legislation for protected access zones around abortion clinics

Manitoba introduces legislation for protected access zones around abortion clinics.
Manitoba introduces new legislation

By: Staff Writer - Winnipeg Tribune

Winnipeg, March 7, 2024 - Today, Manitoba's Families Minister Nahanni Fontaine and Health, Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Uzoma Asagwara unveiled plans for legislation aimed at safeguarding access to abortion services across the province.

The proposed Safe Access to Abortion Services Act seeks to establish protected access zones surrounding clinics and facilities offering abortion services, as well as residences and offices of service providers. Fontaine emphasized that abortion is essential healthcare and Manitobans deserve safe and accessible services.

Under the legislation, protests, demonstrations, or picketing within buffer zones would be prohibited to shield patients and providers from harassment and intimidation. Clinics primarily offering abortion services would be mandated to have safety perimeters, while other facilities providing medical or surgical abortions could opt for buffer zones.

The bill aims to ensure access to Mifegymiso, a non-surgical abortion option, by safeguarding physicians and pharmacists providing the medication.

Asagwara highlighted the importance of protecting healthcare professionals who face harassment or violence, stating that such behavior is unacceptable. The legislation extends protections to healthcare workers and their families, both at their workplaces and residences.

Despite recent federal legislation criminalizing intimidation or obstruction of healthcare workers and patients, it lacks provisions for establishing buffer zones. Manitoba joins other provinces like British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and Nova Scotia in enacting provincial laws to address this gap.

The proposed legislation reflects Manitoba's commitment to ensuring the safety and privacy of individuals accessing and providing abortion services. Fontaine and Asagwara emphasized the necessity of these measures in upholding reproductive rights and healthcare access for all Manitobans.


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