A New Brunswick judge recently banned Canadian pro-life advocates from protesting and sidewalk counseling outside a hospital that aborts unborn babies.
The Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst, New Brunswick is a regular location for the peaceful, prayerful 40 Days for Life pro-life campaign, The Hamilton Spectator reports.
The hospital’s owners, the Vitalite Health Network, asked a judge to permanently block pro-life advocates from demonstrating on the Chaleur grounds; and Judge Reginald Leger of the Court of Queen’s Bench recently granted the request, according to the report.
Leger’s order blocks pro-life advocates from standing anywhere on the hospital grounds, which the local news report described as “sprawling.”
In their complaint, the hospital owners said they were concerned about patient and employee safety. They referred to a 2012 incident when a pro-life advocate allegedly forced an ambulance with an emergency patient to stop. They said the pro-lifer had stepped off the sidewalk in front of the ambulance, forcing the ambulance driver to slam on the breaks and causing a mask on the patient to become dislodged.
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The pro-life advocates who now stand outside the hospital said their demonstrations are peaceful and prayerful. They said they reach out with compassion and kindness to women considering abortion.
Here’s more from the report:
Ronald Jessulat, another defendant, said the group has the right to express their deeply held religious beliefs near the public hospital in an attempt to change the minds of some women considering an abortion.
Hospital officials said they took no position on the abortion debate but instead were concerned the safety of patients and employees was at risk.
The judge agreed the safety concerns warranted an injunction, and has banned the group from demonstrating at the hospital or harassing any person arriving or leaving the property.
Leger noted that while freedom of expression is critically important in a free and democratic society, the order to demonstrate off hospital grounds is a reasonable limit on the defendants’ rights.
Canada allows unborn babies to be aborted for any reason up to birth, without restriction. Lately, pro-abortion lawmakers have been trying to restrict pro-life advocates’ freedom of speech by proposing buffer zone laws to keep pro-life sidewalk counselors from reaching out to women outside abortion facilities.
Last week, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson urged lawmakers to adopt a buffer zone for the whole of Ontario. He and city lawyer Rick O’Conner said the current municipal bylaws in Ottawa do not punish pro-life protesters enough when they harass women, The Ottawa Sun reports.
“Bylaw enforcement through ticketing cannot provide the same immediate resolution of situations of serious harassment, threats or intimidation — nor can it offer the same level of deterrent effect — as exists where enforcement can be undertaken by means of arrest and the possibility of imprisonment,” O’Connor wrote.
Buffer zones are not really about protecting women. What they do is protect the pro-abortion agenda by stopping pro-life advocates from praying and providing information to women before they walk into the abortion facility. Often pro-life sidewalk counselors can help direct pregnant women to pregnancy resource centers that offer education and material help for themselves and their unborn babies.
Buffer zones also violate individuals’ freedom of speech. In 2014, the United States Supreme Court unanimously struck down a Massachusetts buffer zone law, saying it restricted pro-life advocates’ freedom of speech.