ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa congratulates the people of Western Australia on their state parliament’s establishment of safe access zones for people receiving abortion care. The state’s Public Health Amendment (Safe Access Zones) Bill 2021 will prohibit protesting 150 meters from abortion clinics. Now, every Australian state has a law allowing safe access zones.
The New Zealand Parliament is currently considering a member’s bill to establish safe areas around premises where abortion is provided. The Health Select Committee is due to report back on the bill on 10 September.
ALRANZ President Terry Bellamak said, “This is great news for Australia – harassment and intimidation outside abortion services perpetuates abortion stigma and traumatises people seeking safe, routine, legal health care. Pregnant people everywhere in Australia are now protected from being harassed by anti-abortion busybodies. Pregnant people in Aotearoa do not have the same protection. We need it.
“Louisa Wall’s safe areas bill would protect patients and providers from protest activity 150 meters from places where abortion is provided. But to make it workable, it needs one change – it must be changed to establish safe areas at all providers across the board from the start, just like the law in Western Australia does.
“Currently, the bill requires the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Health to collaborate on an Order in Council to establish JUST ONE safe area. Each place where abortion is provided would need to apply separately, one at a time. It’s onerous and unworkable. It would leave far too many people unprotected.
“Over 2400 New Zealanders who signed ALRANZ’s petition asking for this change agree with us.”
New Zealand reformed its abortion laws in March of 2020, decriminalising the procedure and aligning it with other health care.