Our View: Time for vigil to move on

There is a simple solution to the complicated and controversial conflict affecting a small group of residents in View Royal.

There is a simple solution to the complicated and controversial conflict affecting a small group of residents in View Royal.

It’s time to move on.

The weekly anti-abortion protests against a nearby women’s health centre are being held at a strategic location that just happens to be directly in front of a small housing complex on the Island Highway.

Residents of the complex say they’re fed up with the vigil, citing the proximity of the protestors and the feeling their personal privacy is compromised.

They have a point.

Every Thursday, when protestors arrive to hold up their placards advocating for alternatives to abortion, they begin their march mere meters from the living rooms of an old motel converted into housing units.

The building doesn’t have a front yard and thus there is essentially no buffer between the homes and the sidewalk.

Residents say they’re uncomfortable with the feeling of being watched by people pacing outside their home. Every time these residents leave their home, or when they welcome guests, the issue of abortion rights in this country is forced into their conscience.

It’s understandable that such an experience would feel disconcerting.

Tensions must become nearly unbearable when the vigil extends to 12 hour shifts for 40 days straight – the next one is planned for next month.

Those in charge of the vigil say they chose the spot they did because it’s visible to clients coming and going from a women’s health centre (one that offers many services as well as abortions). But by stubbornly occupying that spot the protestors are imposing their will on a group of people who should be allowed to stay out of the debate if they so choose.

Out of simple respect for these citizens, the pro-life vigil needs to find another strategic location – even if it’s just a few blocks away – to exercise its members’ right to free speech.