The Greens’ proposal to ban free speech outside of Western Australian abortion clinics is an attempt to silence any speech it does not approve of and should be comprehensively rejected, according to Australian Christian Lobby WA director, Dahlia Messiha.
“It is disingenuous for the Greens to be fighting proposed Anti-Protest Laws, arguing it would undermine freedoms to peacefully protest, while proposing to deny these rights to citizens that disagree with the Greens about abortion,” Ms Messiha said.
“The ACL does not support any kind of intimidation, obstruction, or harassment to women seeking abortion but what these exclusion zones would do is limit peaceful and respectful free speech.
“Laws already exist to protect people from harassment, so imposing additional restrictions on targeted pro-life groups is not warranted.
“The Greens need to be consistent in their approach to providing freedom to peacefully protest.”
An independent study compiled for Women’s Forum Australia shows most women and girls who have abortions do so because of a lack of support from partners, parents and friends.
The study found 70 per cent of women say they felt they had no alternative to abortion. Implementing exclusion zones will serve to further reduce alternatives for women as it will limit the communication of other viable options.
“The ability for all Australians to communicate freely and share their beliefs in a respectful and peaceful manner is a key attribute of our free society,” Ms Messiha said.
“Greens candidate for the East-Metro region, Sarah Nielsen-Harvey, believes that protesting against abortion services is dangerous to people's physical and mental health.
“Those who stand outside abortion clinics believe that abortion itself is dangerous to people's physical and mental health.
“The act of peaceful protest lies at the heart of our freedom to speak in Australia. We need to protect it even when we may not agree with the idea being communicated.”
 Selena Ewing, Women and Abortion: An Evidence-Based Review,2005; a meta-analysis of Australian and international research on why women have abortion, compiled for a Women’s Forum Australia parliamentary submission.