21 July 2020
Plans to allow silent prayer outside abortion clinics will only empower protesters to shame and harass pregnant women, says the ANMF (SA Branch).
The ANMF says an amendment permitting the prayer within health access zones by Environment Minister David Speirs will undermine a proposed Bill which is up for debate this week.
The Health Care (Safe Access) Amendment Bill 2020, tabled by Labor MP Nat Cook last month, would create a 150m buffer zone around hospitals and the Pregnancy Advisory Centre, prohibiting the intimidation, harassment and obstruction of people, reports The Advertiser.
ANMF (SA Branch) Director, Operations and Strategy, Rob Bonner said he was concerned the proposed prayer amendment would likely cause “distress or anxiety with intent to deter people from accessing this health service”.
Dr Tania Penovic, senior lecturer in law from the Centre for Human Rights at Melbourne’s Monash University told The Advertiser: “The presence of individuals engaged in silent prayer outside clinics has the effect of shaming and stigmatising women and undermining their privacy and dignity’’.