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3 years ago
I enjoyed this podcast, and I appreciate you trying to tell the other side of the story. However, I take issue with the idea that buffer zones are the result of pro-life mistakes and that they can always be prevented. Often, they are imposed strictly for ideological or political reasons. While the Jackson, Mississippi one likely doesn't fall under this category, let's look at a couple other examples:
The Massachussetts buffer zone, unanimously struck down by the Supreme Court in 2014, had to do with sidewalk counsellors (who would only engage in polite, consensual conversations with women and provide alternatives to abortion). There was no evidence of arrests, blockades, extreme noise, etc. The law was just a political favour for the abortion industry.
You discussed the Ontario buffer zone law, but I wanted to provide some context. The buffer zone came to be because the Morgentaler abortion clinic in Ottawa whined to Heather Mallick (arguably the biggest hack in the Canadian media, with the possible exception of Michael Coren) that the local police weren't arresting pro-life protesters outside the clinic (which makes perfect sense, as the protesters weren't doing anything illegal). Mallick, who does not live in Ottawa, spun a couple overblown incidents and complete fabrications into a column in the Toronto Star. This led the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada to write a letter to Ottawa mayor Jim Watson demanding a buffer zone in front of the clinic. Watson then essentially copied and pasted this letter in his request to the attorney general of Ontario (Yasir Naqvi, who was also the member of provincial parliament - roughly equivalent to a state legislator - for the riding the clinic was in) for a buffer zone. The province-wide buffer zone law, which specifies that you can only say nice things about abortion within a 50-150 metre radius of the clinic (and that you can't even look at it for too long - that's actually in the law), was enacted in 2017.
There was never any real need for the buffer zone law. The clinic protests consisted mainly of an octogenarian Catholic priest and maybe one or two other people at any given time. There were no bullhorns, abortion victim photographs, loud music, blockades, or anything like that. It's common knowledge that the real reason for the law was so the governing Liberals (who were extremely unpopular and had been in power for far too long) could use the abortion issue as a wedge against Patrick Brown, leader of the opposition Progressive Conservatives. Brown won the leadership race largely by appealing to pro-lifers and social conservatives, but flip-flopped on all of his positions as soon as he became leader. The Liberals hoped he would either give them the opportunity to paint him as a radical anti-choice extremist, or alienate his base of pro-life supporters by betraying them again (or even better yet, split the party right down the middle and create massive disarray). Brown went for the latter, whipping his entire caucus into supporting the buffer zone (sadly, nobody stood up to him). The liberals still tried to portray Brown as a radical anti-choice extremist, but he had to resign in disgrace a few months before the election when he was accused of sexual harassment and there was nobody left to vouch for him (he had made too many enemies along the way).
Some good material here from a local blogger that did a lot of research into the buffer zone:
When Ireland and various Australian states legalized abortion on demand, buffer zones were considered and/or implemented right off the bat. Pro-lifers didn't do anything wrong outside of the abortion clinics, because there weren't any abortion clinics to begin with.
P.S. I hope you upload this podcast and all future ones to the ERI course podcast. It would be helpful to have everything all in one place.
3 years ago
Sorry I am just responding to this comment now, it has been a very busy time for us in the office. Thank you for your well-thought-out criticism. I think that we could have been more clear in the podcast by saying something like: "In many cases buffer-zones are passed for circumstances beyond our control and in those cases we should do our best to legally push back against them. There are other times when we can take actions on our end to prevent them. In those cases we ought to do so." When Josh and I were naming the podcast we were trying to develop a title that would communicate to our followers that we would be giving a practical analysis and advice rather than simply reporting on the news, even thought I realize the title could be read like we think most or all buffer-zones are the result of pro-life mistakes and can be prevented. (We don't think so.) I think the podcast would have been better if we had been more clear, perhaps giving a proper disclaimer Ontario's circumstances or talking about Massachusetts.
In response to your post script: We are in the process of transitioning the ERI course podcast to a public Equipped for Life podcast feed so that it is easier for our current enrolled members to access on mobile and available to all our ERI followers. Once that transition is complete, this podcast will be on that public feed along with the other previously recorded episodes. Not only will everything be on one feed, but you'll be able to download and listen on the go easier without having to log in!