Abortion 'Safe Access Zone' Bill Passes NSW Legislative Council
Labor's Penny Sharpe and the Nationals' Trevor Khan teamed up to co-sponsor the bill.
A bill to establish safe access zones of up to 150 metres around NSW abortion clinics has passed the state's parliament.
The measure -- which would also make it a criminal offence to interfere with, harass or record people trying to enter or exit a reproductive health clinic -- passed parliament on Thursday evening.
The bill, co-sponsored in a somewhat unusual alliance between Labor MP Penny Sharpe and Nationals MP Trevor Khan, would provide necessary safety measures to not only people accessing abortions, but to people accompanying them and clinic employees.
The bill now goes to the state's Legislative Assembly for a vote next month, before it can pass into law.
Both the Liberal and National parties were granted a conscience vote on the bill, while Labor were bound by a partyroom decision to support the legislation.
Greens NSW MP Mehreen Faruqi was one of those who argued for the right of people accessing abortion to be able to do so in a safe manner.
"We know that anti-choice protesters harass patients in the hope that they can intimidate them away from the clinic or at least make them feel bad about having a pregnancy termination," she said.
"They stand outside these clinics, trying to shame or guilt women, by attempting to influence or interfere with their personal medical choice."
"Those who oppose safe access zones often cite a right to freedom of speech and a right to protest as the reason to do so, but what happens outside abortion clinics is neither free speech, nor protest. It is harassment and intimidation."