Aggressive anti-choice protesters have been banned from protesting outside Melbourne’s abortion clinics.
Late last month, we brought you the disappointing news that the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants were free to continue gathering outside a Melbourne abortion clinic, after a Supreme Court found in the pro-life group’s favour. (Read more about that here.)
But now, there’s been an exciting development.
The Victoria government has agreed to a deal that will impose ‘protest exclusion zones’ outside abortion clinics in the state.
The government will introduce legislation into Parliament before the end of the year. The Greens have indicated they will vote for the legislation, while the Liberals will have a free vote.
The ban is therefore expected to take effect by the end of the year, according to Guardian News.
Sex party MP Fiona Patten negotiated the deal. She posted on Facebook: “I look forward to working with [the government] to ensure it passes through both houses.”
She told Guardian News that while the original private member’s bill that she drafted called for 150-metre exclusion zones outside clinics, the exact distance might be negotiated.
The Helpers of God’s Precious Infants have been trying to stop pregnant women getting abortions for years outside the East Melbourne’s Fertility Control Clinic in particular by giving them pamphlets, waving placards and yelling slogans like “don’t kill your baby”.
Earlier this year, the clinic — outside which a security guard was fatally shot by an anti-abortionist in 2001 — took the issue to the Supreme Court.
In court, it argued that the Melbourne City Council was failing to protect women from threatening behaviour and harassment by refusing to remove the protesters.
We’re so pleased to hear that, even though the Supreme Court dismissed that legal argument, the state government plans to prohibit anti-choice harassment anyway.
It’s a loss for the zealots, but a win for reproductive freedom in Victoria.
And to that we say: Hallelujah.
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