VANCOUVER, B.C., December 6, 2010 ( – Twenty-one of Canada’s 33 abortion facilities currently have a pro-life presence, reports the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) in a new study. 

The study, designed to promote the legal elimination of pro-life activism and sidewalk counseling, is based on a survey of staff at each facility and released November 16. It found that an additional seven facilities (15%) had experienced pro-life witnessing in the past.

The survey aimed to measure “anti-choice activity” outside the facilities and the effectiveness of pro-abortion measures to reduce or eliminate it.  It was authored by abortion activist Joyce Arthur, ARCC’s coordinator, and Fanda Wu, a law student at the University of British Columbia.

The authors note that while pro-life activity outside abortion facilities had been low since the mid-1990s, the 40 Days for Life campaigns have strengthened the pro-life effort.

Arthur and Wu held up British Columbia’s Access to Abortion Services Act, in particular, as a model for other provinces.  The act, which came into force in 1995, makes pro-life activity illegal within “bubble zones” around the province’s abortion facilities, hospitals, and the offices and homes of abortionists.

“The court injunctions and BC’s law have been quite successful – they have significantly reduced protest activity at every clinic that uses them, sometimes completely eliminating it,” said Arthur in a press release. “We hope that the survey data will be helpful for other provinces that may want to pass bubble zone legislation, or for clinics thinking about getting a court injunction.”

The authors say that seven facilities have private court injunctions against pro-lifers, two are covered by B.C.’s Access to Abortion Services Act, and twenty-four (73%) have no legal barriers against pro-life activism.  Sixteen (53%) said staff felt “upset” or “frightened” as a result of the pro-life presence, though eight said they were not affected by it.  Nineteen (58%) favored legislation akin to British Columbia’s for their province.

Twenty-one of the facilities (64%) had implemented some measure to reduce pro-life effectiveness, such as seeking an injunction, recruiting escorts, employing security guards, calling police, or training staff to respond to pro-lifers.  Seven of the facilities said these measures were effective or mostly effective, and four said they were not effective or only sometimes effective.

The study reports that 11 of the facilities are standalone, 12 are located in a multi-tenant office or medical building, and 9 are associated with a hospital.

Besides their strong opposition to pro-life witnessing, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has repeatedly called for the elimination of pregnancy resource centres, which seek to educate women on authentic pregnancy options in a compassionate and life-affirming environment.

The full report is available here.


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