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Protesting outside abortion clinics in South Australia has now been outlawed.
A new law passed the Upper House in State Parliament on last night (Wednesday November 11) and will be a massive win for women and workers.
According to the bill, it will now be an offence to protest within 150 metres of any abortion clinic within the state.
Greens MLC Tammy Franks introduced the bill in the Legislative Council. She said the new law meant that 'at long last' patients and workers would be protected from 'harassment' while visiting abortion clinics.
No woman or worker will face harassment when accessing abortion services in SA any longer. The Safe Access Zones Bill has passed both houses of Parli. Thanks @TammyMLC for partnering on this. Thanks to all Members & @SA_AAC for their support #SafeAccessZones #FirstBill #Women pic.twitter.com/nel6EWQihf
- Nat Cook MP (@NatCookMP) November 11, 2020
"For too long our dedicated health workers and the patients for whom they provide care were subjected to harassment, intimidation, and threats while trying to access or provide abortion services," she said.
"What a relief it is that today patients and health workers will no longer be subjected to this behaviour, and will be protected by our laws.
"Finally, South Australia has said 'no more' to women and workers being made to run a gauntlet of protest and preaching. Abortion care is health care, and this legislation takes us one step towards finally treating it as such."
The South Australian Abortion Action Coalition also spoke positively on the change, saying that now, 'no person seeking abortion will be subjected to intimidation and harassment' and that 'no abortion care worker will be fearful as they enter and leave their workplace'.
They added: "Safe access zones are sorely needed at abortion services in this state where protestors regularly attend with the purpose of interfering in a person's decision making about their own health care."
The law passing in South Australia now just leaves Western Australia as the last Australian state or territory to still be debating similar laws.
WA is currently debating the issue and there could be an update on the horizon.
Protestors were similarly banned from Queensland abortion clinics in late 2018. The procedure was decriminalised, which allowed women the chance to have a termination on request up to 22 weeks, or after that gestation with consent from two doctors.
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