People defending the rights of the unborn have been banned from coming within 50 metres of abortion clinics in Alberta, Canada.
Those in violation of the Protecting Choice for Women Accessing Health Care Act can be fined up to CAN $10,000 or jailed for up to a year.
It comes shortly after a London council voted to introduce the UK’s first abortion buffer zone.
Jeff Gunnarson, Vice President of Campaign Life Coalition, accused the lawmakers behind the Act of “trampling on pro-lifers’ rights whenever they can get away with it”.
Similar abortion buffer zone laws are already in place in four other Canadian provinces.
Last month in the UK, free speech campaigners warned that buffer zones around abortion centres would set a “dangerous precedent” for freedom of speech.
‘Freedom of expression’
Expressing their “grave concern” about the issue, the campaigners – who support abortion – wrote a letter to seven councils currently considering introducing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).
The letter – from Manifesto Club, Big Brother Watch, Index on Censorship, the Freedom Association and Peter Tatchell – says that Ealing’s PSPO was “so widely drawn as to impose potentially unlawful restrictions on the rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression”.
It was sent to councils in Lambeth, Richmond, Southwark, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, following Ealing Council’s decision to bar peaceful pro-life vigils from within 100 metres of a Marie Stopes abortion centre.