The global ‘40 Days for Life’ protest of abortion health care commences this Wednesday, September 25 and runs until November 3. A private members bill by Greens Tammy Franks and Labor’s Nat Cook will be introduced in both Houses of state parliament today to ensure that this 40-day protest will be the last ever held outside abortion health care clinics in South Australia.
All other Australian state and territories except SA and WA have established “Safe Access Zones” to protect patients and health care workers from harassment by anti-abortion protestors. Earlier this year the WA Government completed consultation for a similar bill in that state. Earlier this year a High Court challenge against Safe Access Zones was lost. The High Court ruled in April this year that “safe access zones” around health care premises that provide abortion services are constitutionally valid.
Safe Access Zones are supported by the Human Rights Legal Centre, the South Australian Abortion Action Coalition (SAAAC), and the Law Society (SA).
The following quotes are attributable to Ms. Franks MLC:
“Our dedicated health workers and the patients they provide care for deserve safe spaces. It is not time that Parliament stepped in to provide protection for patients and clinicians alike."
“These protesters with their placards and pamphlets are better placed on the steps of Parliament and do not reasonably belong outside our hospitals and clinics."
“No woman seeking health care should be made to run a gauntlet of protest and preaching. This Bill will make sure they are no longer forced to.”
The following quotes are attributable to Ms. Cook:
“By creating safe access zones, women accessing services provided by a pregnancy advisory centre will have the peace of mind they will be able to enter safely, without fear or the threat of intimidation”
“Every Australian state and territory, except Western Australia already has these laws in place and it’s about time this once progressive state did the same.”
“As a health care professional, I know how important provisions are to protect not only users of health services, but also the health workers who provide care to patients.”