Status: Received Royal Assent June 11, 2018
Ministry responsible: Health
All Albertans should feel safe when accessing any health care service, including abortion services.
We've established new rules to help protect women and health care providers from safety and harassment concerns and remove barriers that impede access to abortion services.
The Protecting Choice for Women Accessing Health Care Act, which is now in effect, strikes a balance between the right to free speech and the right to safe and confidential access to health services.
The new rules:
- establish "access zones" of 50 metres for the clinics
- ban protesting, interfering with or intimidating a patient, physician or service provider within an access zone
- ban photographing, filming, or making any other audio or visual recording of a patient, physician or service provider who is within an access zone (without consent)
- ban publishing or distributing a photo, video or any other recording of a patient, physician or service provider who was within an access zone, in order to try to convince a person not to access or provide abortion services
- prohibit repeated communication by phone, mail or electronically (without consent) in order to try to convince a physician or service provider not to provide abortion services
- establish penalties for contravening the act for both individuals and corporations
The rules also outline behaviours that are prohibited such as harassing a physician’s neighbours or friends in hopes it would influence the physician to longer provide abortion services.
The maps below illustrate access zones that are in effect:
- Kensington Clinic Access Zone (Calgary) (PDF, 2 MB)
- Woman's Health Option Clinic Access Zone (Edmonton) (PDF, 197 KB)
Why rules are needed
Abortion has been legal in Canada for almost 30 years and is an insured service under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan.
Non-hospital clinics in Alberta have previously relied on court injunctions to limit the number, proximity and activities of protesters. However, clinics have reported a significant increase in protester activity and an escalation in aggressive behaviour over the past two years.
British Columbia has had similar legislation in place for the last 22 years.
Jennifer Berard discusses a growing concern for women and health professionals being harassed when accessing health services.
For questions regarding the act, email firstname.lastname@example.org (monitored during business hours Monday to Friday)
For immediate concerns for safety or property, contact your local law enforcement.
- New bill would protect women, health providers (April 5, 2018)