Abortion clinic protest buffer zone law passes Victorian Upper House.


Legislation preventing protesters from coming within 150 metres of an abortion clinic has passed the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament without amendment.

The abortion buffer zone laws make it illegal for anti-abortion protesters to harass or film women going in or coming out of the clinics.

Protestors who breach the so-called buffer zone may face fines or jail time for repeat offences.

The bill, amending the Health and Wellbeing Act, was originally put forward by Sex Party MP Fiona Patten and was passed in the early hours of the morning after 12 hours of debate.

The legislation follows years of complaints from the clinics about pro-life campaigners approaching women outside clinics, urging them not to terminate their pregnancy.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the changes were “long overdue”.

“Women will no longer be able to be harassed and intimidated around abortion clinics,” she said.

She said the law would send a message to protesters that women should be free to access what is a lawful service.

“But no doubt there will be people trying to test the law,” she said.

“We’ll be working with Victoria Police and all service providers to make sure that we get this law enforced and women are able to go about their lawful business without being the subject of harassment and intimidation.”

Ms Hennessy said she hoped people understood that it is their right to protest on the steps of Parliament but not outside a medical clinic.

This post originally appeared on ABC Online.


© 2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here.