Law for safe and private access to abortion services passes through Western Australia's parliament

Women will soon be able to safely and privately access abortion health services in Western Australia after landmark legislation finally passed through state parliament.

Advocates have expressed relief and described the passing of the legislation as “historic” and “momentous” for the nation, with WA the final jurisdiction to adopt such laws.

The Public Health Amendment (Safe Access Zones) Bill provides for 24/7 safe areas, which will also include any space within 150 metres of the boundary.

Banned behaviour within the zones include:

Offenders face a maximum penalty of $12,000 and 12 months in prison.

Law for safe and private access to abortion services passes through Western Australia’s parliament

Camera IconMany people have participated in protests around the country over the years, pushing for safe access zones. Mathew Farrell Credit: News Corp Australia

“One of the important legacies of the McGowan government is ensuring that patients should be able to access healthcare with privacy, dignity and respect,” Health Minister Roger Cook said.

“For far too long, women had to run the gauntlet of people outside abortion clinics.

“It is already a difficult and intensely personal decision without having to encounter a protest before undergoing a legal medical procedure.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in helping this law pass through both houses of parliament.”

Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk described the passing of this legislation as a “significant moment for women in this state”.

“It brings Western Australia into line with the rest of the country,” she said.

“Women have a right to access legal medical services without fear of intimidation or harassment, and the appropriate safeguards will now be in place around clinics.”

Interest groups have also welcomed the legislation, which has been long-awaited after the it failed to pass the upper house before the state election last year.

Human Rights Law Centre associate legal director Adrianne Walters said it was a historic day.

“The intimidation and harassment of people seeking abortion care outside of health clinics is now banned around the nation,” she said.

“We have seen in other parts of Australia that safe access zones play a critical role in promoting equality and every person’s right to access healthcare safely.

“No one should have to run a gauntlet of abuse just to see their doctor. These laws will ensure that no one is harassed or filmed by strangers as they walk to their doctor’s door for essential reproductive healthcare.”

Ms Walters also called on the state government to take the “next step”.

“Modernise and decriminalise the state’s abortion laws, which are outdated and causing harm,” she said.

“Access to a safe, legal abortion is a healthcare right. The McGowan government must remove all barriers to timely reproductive healthcare in Western Australia.”

According to health provider Marie Stopes Australia, picketers spend more than 2000 hours per year outside their Midland clinic.

Nurse unit manager Leigh Keane said the passing of the law was a relief.

“Patients can now safely come in without being judged and without being intimidated out the front of the clinic,” she said.

“It gives them clear access to the healthcare that they’ve decided that they want or need, depending on their circumstances, and they are no longer being influenced by outside people on the day, minutes before they walk through.

“It also provides safety to staff, and even to our neighbours, who have to witness the behaviour week after week. Our whole community was being affected.”

Marie Stopes Australia managing director Jamal Hakim described it as a “momentous day for human rights” in the nation.

“Unfortunately there is a lot of underlying stigma around abortion rights and access, and this is a significant step in recognising the distress of women and staff when accessing a clinic,” he said.

“We’re grateful the WA government has kept its commitment to legislate safe access zones and that it will be illegal for picketers to harass staff.”

Mr Hakim also called on the state government to increase access to abortion care.

“Currently, the criminal code still regulates abortion and there are significant outdated hurdles in accessing abortion care, which still need to be addressed,” he said.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


This Couple Was Supposed to Get Married—but Instead They're Working in an ER to Fight COVID-19

This is what love looks like in the time of the coronavirus. Read more »

What Is Mania, and What Does It Mean to Have a Manic Episode? Here's What Experts Say

Mania is strongly associated with bipolar disorder. Read more »

My Husband Died of Cancer at age 41—Here Are 9 Things You Should Never Say to Me or Any Other Grieving Widow

Advice about choosing your words wisely when someone is in mourning. Read more »

6-Year-Old Boy Sets Up a Joke Stand to Make His Neighbors Laugh During Coronavirus Pandemic

"There's a lot of stress in the world, and I kind of want to get some smiles on people's faces," the young boy said. Read more »

Here's Why Jessica Simpson and John Mayer's Relationship Was So Toxic

In her new memoir, "Open Book," Simpson writes that ex John Mayer was "obsessed" with her "sexually and emotionally." A relationship counselor explains why an obsessive relationship might qualify as emotionally abusive. Read more »

89-Year-Old Women Who Have Been Best Friends Since Age 11 Move to Same Elderly Home Together

"We're going to be friends in heaven," said Kathleen Saville. Read more »

'Future Faking' Is a Dating Strategy Used by Narcissists—Here's What to Know and How to Avoid Being a Victim

Consider this behavior an early relationship warning sign. Read more »

6 Ways to Help Your Relationship Survive During Quarantine, According to Experts

Thanks to the pandemic, you're stuck with your significant other for an indefinite amount of time. How do you make it through without breaking up? Read more »

This Is How to Speak to Your Spouse to Strengthen Your Marriage

Unconditional love doesn't mean you get to say whatever you're thinking. Treat each other just as considerately as you would a friend. Read more »

Why Do People Ghost? Relationship Experts Weigh In

Here are possible reasons your date went radio silent. Read more »

Selena Gomez Says She Suffered 'Emotional Abuse' While Dating Justin Bieber

"I'm not being disrespectful, I do feel I was a victim to certain abuse." Read more »

Jada Pinkett Smith Says the Pandemic Made Her Realize She 'Does Not Know Will at All'

The Red Table Talk co-host opened up about her marriage to actor Will Smith and how the pandemic has impacted their relationship Read more »

Dax Shepard Shares Nude Photo of Kristen Bell to Celebrate Her: 'Look at This Specimen'

The stars have been married since 2013. Read more »

Stacy London From What Not To Wear Had the Best Response to People Finding Out She's Queer

Stacy London of What Not To Wear fame publicly came out as queer on Instagram today, December 31st. She did so after seeing several of her fans question whether or not her ... Read more »

What Is 'Wokefishing'? Why You Need to Know About The Latest Dating Trend

If you've been swiping lately, you need to read this. Read more »

Jada Pinkett Smith Admits Will Has Made 'Insensitive Comments' About Willow's Menstruation

"We educate that joker before he leaves this house," Jada Pinkett Smith said of her and daughter Willow correcting Will Smith. Read more »

Jill Biden Is Going Viral for Adorably Ensuring Joe Biden Social Distances

In a now-viral moment, Jill makes sure Biden maintains proper social distancing. Read more »

Pink Gets Candid About Going to Therapy With Carey Hart: "Marriage Is Awful, Wonderful, Comfort And Rage"

People "roll their eyes when we talk about therapy," the singer wrote. "But I'll tell you what. It's worth it." Read more »

Hayden Panettiere's Boyfriend Brian Hickerson Charged with Domestic Battery on Valentine's Day

Brian Hickerson was arrested and charged with domestic battery and interference with a cop Read more »

I Used These 5 Tips From a Marriage Therapist to Keep My Relationship Flourishing

Five easy ways to refresh a stale relationship. Read more »

Hayden Panettiere Hopes to 'Empower Others in Abusive Relationships' as Ex Is Charged with Assault

"I am prepared to do my part to make sure this man never hurts anyone again," the actress said in a statement. Read more »

What Losing My Husband to a Terminal Illness Taught Me About Life After Grief

I was just 36 when my husband passed away, so I knew I might live more of my life without him than I did with him. Caving to victimhood wasn't a long-term solution.  Read more »

Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich Social-Distance Apart: They 'Do Their Own Thing,' Source Says

A source tells PEOPLE that the stars "still speak all the time" Read more »

Paramedic Allegedly Used Eye Drops to Kill Wife: 'She Was a Great Mother,' Says Friend

Joshua Lee Hunsucker is charged with first-degree murder in the death of wife Stacy Hunsucker Read more »

The 3 Types of Narcissism—and Why You Need to Know the Differences, According to Experts

Within the broad category of narcissism are some fascinating and important distinctions. Read more »

Demi Lovato Says Calling Off Recent Engagement Was a 'Huge Sign' in Recognizing Sexuality

"I know who I am and what I am, but I’m just waiting until a specific timeline to come out to the world as what I am," the singer told Glamour. Read more »

Kristen Bell Reveals She Had a 'Pretty Incredible Fight' with Dax Shepard: 'We Both Blacked Out'

"Then we both blacked out and got into a fight and I don't actually remember what happened," says Kristen Bell of an argument with husband Dax Shepard. Read more »

Carson Daly Jokes He and Wife Siri May Never Sleep Together Again After 'Sleep Divorcing' Last Year

Carson Daly and his wife Siri first began sleep divorcing in the fall when she was pregnant with their fourth child. Read more »

I'm a Lesbian, and When My Ex-Girlfriend Married a Man, It Made Me Feel Erased

I felt like I was holding onto our memories all by myself. Read more »

Willow Smith Says She Is Polyamorous—What Does That Mean?

This non-monogamous relationship style is in the headlines, and people are curious. Read more »

Reporter Caught Boyfriend Cheating When Physical Activity Spiked on Fitbit

What can happen when you sync your fitness tracker with a partner's. Read more »

How Long Do Guys Wait to Text After the First Date? How to Follow Up After a Fun Date

After going out on a fun first date with a guy, you’re probably really excited for him to text and continue your conversation. If you’re the guy, it’s equally nerve-wracking ... Read more »

9 Ways to Get Over a Girl Who Led You On and Speed Up the Healing Process

Text Only Getting over a girl who led you on can take a bit of time, but rest assured that you can definitely come out of this stronger than ever. ... Read more »

What Does It Mean When a Girl Says She's Sorry for the Late Reply? (and How to Respond)

It can be irritating to have a good conversation end abruptly for seemingly no reason, only to have the other person text back later with some lame excuse and basic ... Read more »

8 Easy Ways to Politely Turn Down a Date Online

Navigating the world of online dating is always tricky. Things can get especially awkward when someone takes an interest in you, but you don’t feel the same about them. How ... Read more »

10 Romantic Ways to Melt Your Girlfriend's Heart with Words

There is no perfect script you can pull out to get your girlfriend melting in her shoes, since a lot of what drives her wild is going to be totally ... Read more »

9 Sweet Ways to Show Your Boyfriend You Love Him over Text (and Make Him Miss You!)

When you’re in a relationship, showing your boyfriend that you love him can strengthen your connection and make him feel more confident. If you aren’t together in person, it can ... Read more »

Jana Hocking: Lockdown singles bubble sparks 'situationship' relationship trend

Opinion Let’s be honest, the singles bubble sparked joy for many of us in lockdown who chose to partner up with a “friend with benefits” as opposed to just a ... Read more »

7 Signs a Gemini Girl Likes You

If you’ve got a crush on a Gemini, you’re probably attracted to their open, intuitive nature. As social butterflies who can talk to anyone, it can be hard to determine ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic