Victoria to outlaw harassment at abortion clinics

A safe zone will be established around abortion clinics in Melbourne.

Protesters will soon be banned from harassing women outside Victorian abortion clinics in a deal between the Victorian government and Sex Party MP Fiona Patten.

The Labor government has agreed to support Patten’s private member’s bill, which would place 150-metre protest exclusion zones outside fertility clinics, with hefty penalties for protesters who breach them.

The agreement comes in the wake of the Supreme Court clearing Melbourne city council on August 26 of failing to protect women from anti-abortion protesters at an East Melbourne fertility clinic. The court found the council had not failed in its duty, or broken the law, by allowing women to be harassed by protesters.

The Greens have indicated they will vote for the bill and the Liberals will have a free vote, meaning the bill will pass.