Abortion access zones established in SA

Tim Dornin
·1-min read

New provisions to establish safe access zones around abortion clinics in South Australia have been passed in state parliament, as debate begins over wider changes to the state's abortion laws.

The new measures create a 150-metre exclusion zone from the entrance of any facilities that provide abortion services.

Protesting within that zone will be illegal.

Greens MP Tammy Franks, who introduced the legislation in the upper house, said the change would protect patients and workers from harassment.

"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.

"Finally, South Australia has said no more to women and workers being made to run a gauntlet of protest and preaching."

The change in SA leaves only Western Australia without similar legislation.

But laws to create safe access zones there are already under debate.

Labor MP Nat Cook, who presented the bill in the lower house, said its passage came after the High Court earlier this year ruled that safe access zones were constitutionally valid.

"This is a great outcome for all women in this state," she said.

"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."

The new measures come as debate started on Thursday into controversial legislation to remove abortion from the state's criminal code and treat it entirely as a health issue.

It will also allow for early-stage abortions to be approved by one doctor rather than two.

The legislation is being considered in the upper house this week and will be subject to a conscience vote by all MPs.