18 Mar, 2021 00:00 am

On Abortion Safe Access Zones, And The Need For The Police And SIS To Go Open Source

On Abortion Safe Access Zones, And The Need For The Police And SIS To Go Open Source
Yesterday, the abortion law reform organisation ALRANZ celebrated 50 years of existence since its founding AGM in 1971 – and in marking the anniversary , former president Dame Margaret Sparrow noted how much had changed “and how long it took to change ...

For example: Australian law has had no difficulty in creating 150 metre “ safe access zones” around abortion clinics to protect (a) the women seeking abortions and (b) the health workers providing the service, from the abuse and the preaching efforts of anti-abortion protesters.Interestingly, a series of Aussie state legislatures and Australia’s highest court have consistently rejected the argument that creating safe access zones around abortion clinics would set a dangerous precedent for freedom of expression.To repeat : what is clear from the state submissions and from the Australian High Court judgement itself, is that the key point at issue with the safe access zones was not the right to political speech and protest – rather, it was whether the protection of the dignity of the women and the staff being targeted was consistent with the stated principles of the public health system.Moreover, the Court ruled, a safe access zone does not unfairly and unequally put at a disadvantage the views of the anti-abortion movement.

Arguably then, abortion clinic safe access zones are a necessary protection for what the abortion law reforms have defined to be a medical procedure.In other words, the failure to create safe access zones around abortion facilities creates a disturbing gap in the medical ethics dimension of our public health system.

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