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N.S. woman leading charge for hospital ‘bubble zones’ to protect those seeking abortion services

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WATCH: Anti-abortion demonstrations happen across Canada. But one Halifax woman is taking a stand against them happening near areas where women go to access the healthcare service in Nova Scotia. Alexa MacLean has more – Dec 20, 2019

Anti-abortion demonstrations happen across Canada.

But one Halifax woman is taking a stand against them happening near areas where women go to access the health-care service in Nova Scotia.

“It’s immoral and unethical for them to keep doing this. The harassment of women and those seeking this legal, medical procedure,” said Megan Boudreau.

Boudreau said that for several weeks this fall she walked past daily protests near the Nova Scotia Women’s Choice Clinic at the Victoria General Hospital.

READ MORE: Fate of N.B. clinic speaks to unfinished fight for abortion access in Atlantic Canada

Frustrated, she posted a video of the demonstration online and that’s when she heard about bubble zones.

“Somebody mentioned that a bubble zone should be in place and I, of course, started digging, doing my research,” said Boudreau.

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Bubble zones or buffer zones make it illegal for people to intimidate, harass or interfere with anyone accessing abortion services at a clinic, hospital, pharmacy or doctor’s office.

The safe access zones already exist in other parts of Canada, including British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Calgary and Toronto have also passed municipal legislation creating buffer zones.

Shannon Hardy, a social worker and abortion doula, has supported hundreds of women in need of abortion resources.

She said that anti-abortion demonstrations should not interfere with a women’s right to access health care.

“You would not show up at a cardiac clinic, or a foot surgery clinic and protest outside,” said Hardy.

“What is traumatic is the stigma that surrounds it, the inability to find support. Telling somebody that they can’t access health care is violence. You can’t peacefully take away somebody’s rights. Regardless of how you’re doing it.”

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Boudreau has been working with Liberal MLA Labi Kousoulis to introduce a law creating buffer zones. But the provincial government says it has no plans to introduce bubble zones.

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The Nova Scotia NDP has said they are planning to introduce legislation that would establish the protective bubble zones.

In the meantime, Boudreau has created a petition and hopes it continues to grow.

“Everybody message your MLA and protect yourselves, protect the women that you know, that you love,” she said.

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