More protection is coming to those who access services at the Vancouver Island Women’s Clinic in View Royal.
The province recently expanded its access or “bubble” zone around the clinic on Helmcken Road from 10 to 50 metres, to protect clinic staff and people accessing clinic services from harassment and intimidation.
As part of the new regulations, which took effect June 1, protests, interference, intimidation and recording of those providing abortion services or patients, is prohibited in the zone. People who do not respect the access zone and continue to protest in it can be arrested without a warrant.
“All people who use the B.C. health-care system, and who provide services for it, should be treated with courtesy, and with respect for their dignity and privacy,” Minister of Health Adrian Dix said in a release. “Access zones work to ensure this, and to support women seeking health-care services, staff providing the services and other visiting the facility.”
Four other facilities in the province have already established access zones similar to this one.
“Everyone has the right to be free from intimidation and harassment, especially when they are accessing or providing health-care services,” said Mitzi Dean, parliamentary secretary for gender equality and MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin.
“Expanding this access zone will remove a barrier to care and help ensure women can access the services they need.”
The Vancouver Island Women’s Clinic provides a range of services including screenings for sexually transmitted infections and cervical cancer, as well as management of miscarriages and unplanned pregnancies.