12 November 2015

Non-violent political protests like those of Ghandi and Martin Luther King Junior were banned outside abortion clinics in a heavy-handed move by the Victorian Parliament today.

Australian Christian Lobby Victorian Director Dan Flynn said peaceful pray-ers near abortion clinics will face potential jail terms after legislation for 150 metre exclusion zones passed the Legislative Assembly.

The lead Government speaker, Mary-Anne Thomas MP told Parliament that people engaged in silent prayer within 150 metres would breach the non-communication provision.

“The banning of any pro-life communication, including silent vigils and prayer, within 150 metres of an abortion clinic is simply the Government silencing any speech that it does not agree with,” Mr Flynn said.

“Today’s debate mocked the Helpers, compassionate people that offer support and alternatives to abortion, as a pretense for shutting down free speech to protect the abortion industry.”

Mr Flynn said the Government chose to ignore legal advice from a Senior Counsel, provided to the Parliament by ACL and referenced in the debate, which outlined the significant risk that the High Court would declare the 150 metre non communication zone invalid.

“The Government was not interested in the legality of the size of the exclusion zone, the mothers or the unborn children, but only in crushing dissent to its pro-abortion agenda” Mr Flynn said

“The Legislative Council should reduce the buffer zone to 3 metres to ensure access to clinics and hospitals, without denying women the information they need to make an informed choice.”