150m safe access zones around abortion clinics now in place in NSW

In Parliament | 18.06.18

Women in NSW will now be able to enter reproductive health clinics free from the interference of others as a result of the final assent to the Public Health Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics) Bill given by the Governor, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley.

Penny Sharpe MLC and Trevor Khan MLC, the co-sponsors of the bill, have welcomed the early action taken by the Government to have the bill enacted as soon as possible after its overwhelming vote of support, 61 votes to 18 in the NSW Parliament in the early hours of Friday 8 June.

NSW now joins Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory in enacting safe access zones.

Safe access zones mean that at reproductive health clinics across NSW it will be an offence within 150 metres of the clinic to:

  • interfere with access to the clinic
  • cause actual or potential distress or anxiety to persons in the zone
  • capture and distribute visual data of persons in the zone

The penalties for each offence are fines of $5500 and/or up to 6 months gaol for the first offence and fines of $11,000 or up to 12 months gaol for the second offence.

With the assent of the bill it is expected that clinics will work with local police to finalise the zones that will make it safe for women and the staff of clinics to enter and exit without abuse, harassment and the gross invasion of privacy that is currently occurring in NSW. 

Quotes attributable to Penny Sharpe MLC 

“This is a small but very important change to the law that guarantees for the first time, that women in NSW have the right to go to the doctor to get the treatment they need without others seeking to interfere in their decisions and cause them harm and distress. 

“It also means that the professional staff at clinics can get on with their jobs and provide the best quality health care they can to every patient who walks in the door.” 

Quotes attributable to Trevor Khan MLC 

“All women have the right to make decisions for themselves, with dignity and respect. 

“This Act helps ensure that.”