For immediate release
August 29, 2019
In announcing their decision not to apply for a “safe access” zone, the Windsor Regional Hospital cited their commitment to balancing freedom of expression with patient care and privacy. The Safe Access to Abortion Services Act, which was passed in 2017, allows for hospitals that perform abortions to apply for 150-metre “safe access” zones, also referred to as bubble zones.
Feminists for Action Windsor, a pro-abortion activist group, began a petition to pressure the Windsor Regional Hospital to apply for a bubble zone to block the activities of the local 40 Days for Life vigil. “Since 2014, we have been a peaceful, prayerful, public witness outside the hospital,” said Laurie Eberhardt, organizer of the Windsor 40 Days for Life. “We’re there because we care about women choosing abortion. We pray for women and for their pre-born child. We pray for them to choose life.”
While the group does not initiate interaction with women going into the hospital, they will on request provide direction to local support for women facing an unplanned pregnancy. In their five years doing the vigil outside the hospital, the group has always been peaceful. “This bubble zone law does nothing to protect women from any real harm, but only prevents them from seeing this pro-life witness,” said Tabitha Ewert, Legal Counsel for We Need a Law.
“All this law does is prevent one specific message. And every woman deserves to know the truth about abortion. Not just the details about the actual procedure, but the broader questions about the humanity and corresponding human rights of the pre-born child,” Ewert explained. “This safe access law disadvantages women by silencing the pro-life movement. Even if you disagree with the pro-life position, there is value in hearing it, engaging with it, and learning from it.”
The hospital noted in their letter that the current restrictions from the property line of the hospital allows for free expression from both sides of the abortion issue.
The presence of 40 Days for Life is even welcomed by women coming to the hospital. “We have been thanked for being a witness there that has inspired two pregnant mothers to choose life instead of abortion,” Eberhardt said. “These women chose life for their babies and were grateful that volunteers were praying on the sidewalk when they made that choice. That’s why we want to be there. We want these women to know that we care.”
For further comment or images to accompany story, please contact
Laurie Eberhardt, 40 Days For Life (EST) at (519) 300-6792 // [email protected]
or Tabitha Ewert, We Need A Law (EST) at (604) 220-1258 // [email protected]