Marie Stopes Australia welcomes the passing of legislation by the NSW Legislative Council today aimed at providing women with safe access zones around sexual and reproductive health clinics.
Marie Stopes Australia CEO, Michelle Thompson, said the passing of the legislation meant the zones were one step closer to becoming a reality.
“For too long, side-walk counsellors have harassed, intimidated and stigmatised patients and their partners as they access abortion and contraception services,” Ms Thompson said
“It is sad that safe access zones are required. However it is important that women can access medical services free from the scrutiny and judgement of complete strangers.”
“We know that these zones work everywhere they are implemented. Patients and staff feel safer when they are in place.
“This legislation is not about attacking free speech. In fact no one is telling these picketers what they can and can’t say. What this legislation does is provide privacy so a person can access a medical service. It’s a basic right that most of us enjoy, unless we are accessing contraception and abortion services.”
Ms Thompson thanked Penny Sharpe and Trevor Khan for their hard work and advocacy.
The legislation is still to pass the Legislative Assembly.
“We hope that members of the Legislative Assembly will show the same compassion and respect and pass this legislation,” Ms Thompson said.