By Cora Hansen
For the second time this week, a man has been arrested outside the Morgentaler clinic on Bank Street and charged with violating a new law that bans protests within a 50-metre radius of any provider of abortion services in Ontario.
The man, who was holding a handmade sign with the slogan “God Save Canada’s Charter of Rights”, was bundled into a police car by Ottawa Police at about 2 p.m. on Friday.
The man was adamant when the arrest was made that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protected his right to protest outside of the clinic.
After a similar incident on Wednesday, police laid five charges against a man under the so-called “bubble zone” law, which came into effect on Feb. 1.
Penalties for a first offence include fines as high as $5,000. Penalties for a second offence include fines between $1,000 and $10,000, and the possibility of imprisonment for up to a year.
At least one onlooker supported the police action.
A man who identified himself only as Ron clapped as the protestor was ushered into a police vehicle.
“I’ve been here for about a year,” said Ron, “and he’s been a nuisance with his vile signs.”
Just moments before the arrest on Friday, long-time anti-abortion activist Cyril Winter told Centretown News in an interview that he objected to the new law around abortion clinics and stated that he would continue to protest.