Describing people who pray quietly on the verge outside abortion clinics as ‘picketers’ is fake news, said Peter Abetz, WA State Director of the Australian Christian Lobby. He was responding to claims made by a spokeswoman from an abortion clinic.

“The police permit that allows the vigil requires participants to be 4 metres from the edge of the driveway that leads into the abortion clinic car park,” Mr Abetz said.

“Misrepresenting what the prayer vigil groups do is part of the abortion industry’s propaganda campaign to pressure the state government to expedite introducing their unnecessary exclusion zone legislation.

“In Western Australia, vegan activists can demonstrate aggressively outside restaurants and abattoirs and intimidate diners and workers without a permit. Yet activists want to ban peaceful groups praying outside abortion clinics with signs offering help to women with an unexpected pregnancy. 

As to the claim that police had been called to the clinic, Mr Abetz said the most recent call to police from an abortion clinic that he was aware of, arose in dubious circumstances. An abortion clinic staff member allegedly stopped their car in the driveway of the clinic, calling out to one of the participants and asked for an information pack. The group makes these packs available to anyone on request. A group member walked up to the staff member’s car and gave them the pack. “The clinic then allegedly called police on the basis that the vigil participant had violated the 4-metre exclusion zone!

“Police in WA already use their existing powers to impose conditions on the permits they issue, including: 

Participants are not to impede, obstruct, or pursue members of the public entering, leaving or otherwise attending the clinic.

The ACL opposes exclusion zones around clinics as there is no evidence for their necessity.

ENDS