Grand River Hospital will now apply for safety access zone

Grand River Hospital's Freeport Campus is set to apply for the safe access zone after meeting with SHORE Centre's executive director, Lyndsey Butcher.

'We needed to do a little bit of home work, which we had not done,' said vice president of clinical services

Grand River Hospital's is set to apply for the safe access zone for its Freeport Campus after community response and meeting with SHORE Centre's executive director, Lyndsey Butcher.

Grand River Hospital (GRH) will now be applying for the safety access zone - a new provincial law that prohibits protesters to be within a 50 to 150-metre radius of an abortion clinic.

The applications comes after community response and recently meeting with the SHORE Centre's executive director, Lyndsey Butcher.

Originally, GRH was not going to apply for the safe access zone because CEO Malcom Maxwell said it would not change the experience for those accessing abortion services or for staff.

That changed, however, after Judy Linton, vice president of clinical services and chief nursing executive at GRH, met with Butcher at the SHORE Centre Thursday afternoon.

"We needed to do a little bit of home work, which we had not done," Linton told CBC News. "We had been very much under the impression that there were not a lot of issues with accessing the clinic."

Linton said her meeting with Butcher helped her understand what people accessing abortion services at the hospital's Freeport Campus actually go through.

"While [patients] may not express anything to us while they are here in the clinic, when they go back and have follow up appointments at the SHORE Centre or with others, they expressed that it was difficult to see the protesters so close to the hospital," she said.

Process just starting

Linton adds that the process for the application is just getting started.

The hospital still needs to send a letter asking for the safe access zone to the Ministries of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

The hospital will be applying for the 150-metre radius at the Freeport campus, which Linton hopes will make a difference for people accessing abortion services at Freeport.

"[Protesters] will have to be on the other side of the river so in one direction, they will be quite far from the hospital and in the other direction, they will be up a hill closer to downtown Kitchener," she said.