Shutting Up Pro-Lifers and Free Speech in Alberta
Goodbye freedom of speech in Alberta! With the imminent passage of Bill 9 under Rachel Notley and her NDP government, Alberta is clamouring to join the ranks of BC, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland in imposing new draconian restrictions on its citizenry. Albertans will be forbidden from exercising their full constitutional rights within certain designated “bubble zones” around abortionists’ killing centres, offices, and homes.
These bubble zones are enormous – city block size – 50 metres in all directions. They encompass all public lands including sidewalks, roadways, parks, and public facilities. If you happen to be in these public spaces,you will be under threat of imprisonment or fine if you happen to say the wrong thing or look the wrong way! This is no joke.
Many news reports suggest Bill 9 will only apply to bona fide abortion protestors, but this is simply not true. Bill 9 restricts the freedoms of all Albertans. It does not matter if you are a protestor holding a sign or not.
For example, according to Bill 9, any or all of the following is verboten:
(i) advising or persuading, or attempting to advise or persuade, another person to refrain from accessing abortion services,
(ii) advising or persuading, or attempting to advise or persuade, a physician who provides abortion services or a service provider to refrain from providing, or facilitating the provision of, abortion services, or
(iii) informing or attempting to inform another person concerning issues related to abortion services, by any means, including graphic, verbal or written means or the use or display of models or representations.
In other words, the NDP government is trying to take the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” and turn it on its head: “Thou shalt not oppose killing.” Under Bill 9, you can not say a negative word about abortion. In fact, you can not even “inform” anyone about any issues related to abortion (positive or negative).
What if you happen to be walking down the street with a colleague, having a debate about abortion, and you unwittingly enter a bubble zone? What if you bump into an old friend who’s pregnant, and you get talking about the baby in the bubble zone? What if you hand off your Edmonton Journal to a stranger in a bubble zone – and on the front page it mentions abortion? The reality is, in all of these situations, you are violating the law. You could be warned, and if you persist, you will be arrested.
But why are so many jurisdictions imposing bubble zones these days? What is the rationale? Do governments honestly believe that women can not handle the truth about abortion? Do they think women can not make up their own minds? Do they want to force women into making only one choice - to have their babies killed?
The Alberta NDP makes the claim that women are being harassed and intimidated at abortion clinics in the province. But where is the evidence to back this up? Under existing laws, harassment and intimidation are completely illegal. Section 264 of the Criminal Code is exhaustive in forbidding all forms of harassment.
The fact is there is no real problem, and there is no real need for legislation. “I’ve never heard anything in regards to this in the three years I’ve been an elected official,” UCP justice critic Angela Pitt said. “It would certainly be accurate to say this government is definitely using this as a political tool against the official opposition.”
The whole point of Bill 9, it seems, is not to protect pregnant women or doctors. The whole point is to shut down and demonize conservative voices and conservative views.
We need to stand together and speak out against Bill 9 (while we still can). We need to stand up for our freedoms, for the rights of women to be informed, and for the children whose lives might otherwise be terminated by our silence. Please sign our petition to the Alberta government today.
FOR FURTHER READING
- RightNow Petition: https://www.itstartsrightnow.ca/say_no_to_alberta_bubble_zones
Sign this petition now!
Withdraw Bill 9 Immediately