Caution urged on planned abortion protest restrictions
7 August 2019
Responding to the planned ban on protest within 150m of abortion clinics, Free Speech Coalition spokesperson Rachel Poulain says:
“Restrictions on protest near abortion clinics would set a worrying precedent. If we accept a 150 metre restricted-speech zone, there is no clear principle to stop groups arguing for 200 metres, or 500 metres."
"What about protestors near businesses involved in animal testing? Or weapons manufacturing? Staff at these businesses may not appreciate or even deserve to listen to protestors, but we accept the protest in each case, in service of the broader principle.”
“Defending free speech involves letting people say upsetting things in inconvenient places. The principle is too important for us to start picking and choosing when to allow it.”
“It’s important to note that there is already a law against harassment, which covers patterns of confrontational, threatening, or obstructive behaviour. Those promoting new restrictions should consider whether existing law addresses their concerns.”