WA Finally Establishes A Safe Access Zone Outside Abortion Clinics To Stop Pro-Life Protesters
Safe access zones were first introduced by Tasmania in 2013.
Western Australia has become the final Australian state to legislate 150-metre safe access zones around abortion clinics. This means pro-life protesters will no longer be able to push their harmful rhetoric on people entering clinics to exercise their reproductive rights. (It will also protect healthcare staff who are at clinics doing their jobs.)
And it’s about time. Tasmania established the safe access zones back in 2013, and other states and territories have slowly followed suit over the last couple of years.
Previous to the legislated zones, protestors could picket outside clinics holding confronting signs, often with religious undertones, in an effort to persuade people not to walk into the clinic. Advocacy groups including ‘Western Australians for Safe Access Zones’ and ‘Our Choice WA’ pushed for the safe access zones, with the bill debated in the Upper House yesterday. It passed, with only three Upper House MPs voting no.
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Liberal member Nick Goiran, who has long been against abortion, tabled a petition against the bill for safe access zones. He believes anti-abortion protesters are offering care and support for people trying to access abortion.
“My concern is for a number of volunteers who are outside of the clinics and what they look to do is to provide compassionate, peaceful support to any woman who is having an unexpected pregnancy who wants support,” he was reported saying by the ABC.
“We are not talking about the protestors. We’ve got no time for the protestors.
“But those people who are there out of genuine concern and compassion, they should be supported too.”
Our Choice WA, who live tweeted the debate, noted that Goiran likened abortion to corporal punishment.
Goiran has equated abortion with capital punishment pic.twitter.com/3SC5hMqWCq
— Our Choice WA (@OurChoiceWA) August 10, 2021
“It is a spectrum.” Nick Goiran in WA upper house discussion on Safe Access Zones tonight explains that he does not consider a picketer spitting on a patient to be an offense. #ReproductiveCoercion.
— Bonney Corbin (@BonneyCorbin) August 10, 2021
Australia has a convoluted history around abortion law, as it is legislated on a state and territory level. While safe access zones are great, access has been named a “postcard lottery” depending entirely on where you live, and accessibility is under threat for regional people.