Alberta government looks to include schools in abortion protest buffer zones

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, pictured on March 16, 2019 in Calgary, is looking at expanding abortion protest buffer zones to include schools. Global News

The Alberta government said it is looking at expanding abortion protest buffer zones to include schools.

This comes on the heels of a protest outside Queen Elizabeth School in northwest Calgary on Wednesday, which prompted Alberta Party candidate Angela Kokott to call for a “safe zone” for students.

READ MORE: Alberta passes bill creating no-protest zones around abortion clinics

Currently, there is a 50-metre buffer zone around abortion clinics in Alberta to prevent staff and patients from being harassed by protesters. Since legislation passed in May 2018, it is illegal for demonstrators to record audio and video or take pictures of people entering or leaving the building.

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said she found video of the Calgary protest “disturbing.”

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“I think that K to 12 students should be able to go to school free from harassment and intimidation and bullying,” she said on Saturday in Calgary.

READ MORE: Man roundhouse-kicks anti-abortion advocate at Toronto protest

Hoffman said that she along with Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley and Education Minister David Eggen were united in wanting to expand the bubble zone to better-protect students.

“When I’ve talked to people who work in the clinics that are now protected, they said that it’s been a game changer for them to be able to do their work and for their patients to be able to come in without harassment, and I think our students deserve the same,” Hoffman said.

“That’s our plan: to be bringing forward legislation at some point in the future. This is a priority for us to be able to expand those bubble zones to include kindergarten to Grade 12 schools.”

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