WA govt supports abortion protest ban

Sophie Moore

The West Australian government is supporting a Victorian law banning protests outside abortion clinics, which is being challenged in the High Court.

Anti-abortion campaigner Kathleen Clubb brought the case to the nation's highest court after she became the first person to be charged under the law for handing a pamphlet to a couple entering an East Melbourne clinic.

Victoria introduced the Safe Access Zones Act in May last year, making it an offence to communicate about abortion to people entering or leaving a service in "a way that is reasonably likely to cause distress or anxiety".

The act also makes it illegal to film people without their consent or physically block access to a service.

A written submission on behalf of WA Attorney General John Quigley argued the 150 metres "safe access zone" did not impede a person's ability to protest.

"The law leaves unaffected the capacity of any person to communicate ... in relation to abortion law and health policy," the submission said.

Safe access zones have been introduced in every state except WA, Queensland and New South Wales, where similar legislation is due to be debated in parliament next week.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook has previously said he is in favour of the ban, saying it prevented intimidation of people who had made the difficult decision to access a legal medical procedure.