In Australia, we have a right to free and peaceful protest. But to force your ideals on to someone to the point of self harm is inexcusable.
Health workers from Albury, NSW have told The Guardian that anti-abortion activists outside the only clinic in the region are doing just that.
The protesters, who call themselves Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, are reportedly so overwhelming while picketed outside the clinic that women attending for a termination have been driven to self-harm.
The activists have been around for over a decade. They surround Albury’s Fertility Control Clinic every Thursday – which is the day that terminations are carried out – shaming any woman who’s entering the building. The protesters are so vicious that they have raised concern to the point that health professionals have formed their own group called, Rights to Privacy.Rights to Privacy badges, from the Albury group.
Associate Professor from Albury Dr Pieter Mourik spoke to Mamamia and said women are being harassed and violated every week just for being in public — and it needs to stop.
“Our group, we’re supported by 95% of the community but this 8% is the most wealthy,” he said.
Dr Mourik explained that one-third of women who should be attending the Albury clinic sometimes drive the 800km-round trip to Melbourne, or even further to Sydney because they don’t want to be publicly shamed.
“They [the anti-abortion activists] shame people, they record number plates,” he said.
“Our concern is that we are a small town and, just say a teacher comes in with an unwanted pregnancy – I don’t trust this group to not go to the principal and tell her about it.”