December 1, 2015 — Members of the Legislative Council of Victoria, Australia, on Friday voted 31-8 to approve a measure that will ban protesters from picketing within 150 meters of abortion clinics, AP/The Guardian reports. According to AP/The Guardian, the measure is now law (AP/The Guardian, 11/26).
Fiona Patten, leader of the Australian Sex Party, first introduced the bill into the State Parliament in August (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/28). The Victorian government later co-opted the measure.
The legislation makes it illegal to block access to sidewalks, roads and vehicles around hospitals and clinics providing abortion. It also makes it illegal to film individuals without their consent around locations that provide abortion.
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said, "Women have a right to medical privacy and the right to access a legal health service without harassment or intimidation."
Separately, Rita Butera -- executive director of Women's Health Victoria -- said, "Thanks to the bill, women making personal and often difficult health decisions in relation to pregnancy can expect the same degree of privacy, safety and dignity that all Victorians are entitled to when accessing health services" (AP/The Guardian, 11/26).