The Government has reintroduced Public Health Amendment (Safe Access Zones) Bill 2021 to Parliament on May 26, 2021. The legislation seeks to ensure women seeking an abortion can have safe and private access to health services without fear of harassment or intimidation.
The Bill provides for a safe access zone which will include the protected premises and any area within 150 metres of the boundary. The zone will apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Within those zones, prohibited behaviours will include:
- harassing, intimidating and threatening a person accessing premises at which abortions are provided;
- communicating by any means in relation to abortion in a manner that can be seen or heard by a person accessing the premises and is reasonably likely to cause distress or anxiety;
- impeding a footpath, road or vehicle without reasonable excuse, in relation to abortion;
- recording by any means, without reasonable excuse, another person accessing premises at which abortions are provided, without that other person’s consent.
The Bill also prohibits a person from publishing and distributing recordings of another person accessing premises at which abortions are provided, if the recording could identify that person, without their consent or reasonable excuse. Engaging in a prohibited behaviour in a safe access zone would attract a maximum penalty of $12,000 and 12 months imprisonment.
*Tanvi Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this story together.