Ottawa Police lay first charges under ‘bubble zone’ law for abortion clinics

Ottawa Police say they have arrested a man and laid charges under the Safe Access to Abortion Services Act for the first time since the new law came into effect.

Ottawa Police tell CFRA they were called to an area near the Morgentaler Clinic on Bank Street at around 2:35 p.m. Wednesday.

A man was on the street with a sign that, according to a witness, read “Charter rights to freedom of expression and religion. No censorship.”

Police say the man–who has not been identified–was arrested and charged with "several offenses." He has since been released and is due in court in March.

A conviction could lead to a fine of up to $5000 and/or six months in jail for a first offense.

This is the first time police have laid charges under the so-called “bubble zone” law, which makes it illegal to protest within 50 meters of a clinic offering abortion services.

A protest was held in Ottawa February 1–the day the law came into effect in Ontario–just outside of the no-protest zone. Ottawa Police were there to hand out warnings if anyone crossed the line.

No one did.