To: Hon Roger H Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA
Safe Access Zones for WA Women
Dear Deputy Premier Cook,
It's time for WA to step up and ensure that women are given fair rights to privacy when accessing reproductive health care. Many women experience protests while trying to gain access to clinics and health providers that provide abortion services. The decision to abort a baby will never be an easy one, and the process of having an abortion is never and will never be pleasant, the last thing a woman in this situation needs is to be threatened and intimidated while trying to access the reproductive health care she is legally entitled to. It's disgusting that in this day and age women are still not afforded the right to medical privacy.
Other Australian states such as Victoria and Tasmania have implemented the idea already, ensuring that protesters are not allowed to harass, bother, obstruct, threaten or intimidate people accessing the premises of clinics at which abortion counselling and services are provided. Establishing a 150m 'Safe Access Zone' allows women and staff of these clinics to feel safe and secure while accessing the premises.
This safe access zone is not a way of saying that people are not allowed to share their views on or discuss abortion, nor does it impede on free speech, it is simply allowing women accessing reproductive healthcare to do so free of harassment and intimidation. This does not impede on the implied right to freedom of political communication, as people are still allowed to share their views on abortion, just not within 150 metres of clinics that provide such services.
It is important that women feel safe and secure in accessing reproductive healthcare, and it's important that we see action in Western Australia. It is equally important that the staff (doctors, nurses and clerical staff) of these clinics and surgeries feel safe in their work.
Why is this important?
Safe Access Zones provides a 150m 'safe zone' around Health Clinics and surgeries that offer women's reproductive health services. It's disgusting that in 2017 it is legal for a woman to be threatened, harassed and intimidated while accessing the reproductive health care she is legally entitled to.
Allowing the staff of these clinics to have access to their workplace without harassment is also very important. Doctors, nurses and other staff should not have to deal with being harassed while attending work on a daily basis.
It is important to note that these safe access zones are not intended to impede on ones constitutionally implied right to freedom of political communication. Individuals are still allowed to vocalize their thoughts on abortion, but just not within a 150m radius of clinics that provide these services.
Such 'Safe Access Zones' have already been put into place in the ACT, Tasmania and Victoria, why shouldn't WA follow suit?
Choosing to have an abortion will never be a pleasant decision, nor a pleasant process for a woman to have to go through. It is horrible that women accessing the reproductive health care they are legally afforded should have to put up with harassment and threats in order to do so.
Let's make Safe Access Zones available for Western Australian Women.