The judgment that Melbourne City Council did not fail to meet its legal obligations to stop staff and patients from being harassed makes it all the more important to legislate for harassment exclusion zones, Greens NSW MP and spokesperson for the Status of Women Dr Mehreen Faruqi has said.
“It really shows us that we can’t rely on individual cases and the current system to protect patients and staff from harassment and intimidation. We need legislation that prohibits this behaviour from outside clinics providing reproductive health services.
“Even in Victoria, where abortion has been decriminalised for the past seven years, people who access termination services are not safe from this sort of aggressive and intimidating behaviour.
“In NSW, we need to both decriminalise abortion and make sure that exclusion zones around reproductive health services are legislated.
“I think most people accept that accessing basic health services with dignity and privacy is a right for all Australians.
“While obviously we need to respect people’s right to protest and free speech, we have to draw a line at harassment and intimidation of people accessing reproductive health services,” she concluded.