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SA catches up with abortion reform

Although still far from perfect, the South Australian government has taken a step towards reforming abortion and related harassment laws across the state.

user iconNaomi Neilson 08 June 2020 Big Law
Abortion reform
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The South Australian Parliament introduced The Health Care (Safe Access) Amendment Bill to end the harassment of women at the doors of abortion clinics by ensuring there are safe access zones. The move will uphold the safety and dignity of these women.

Human Rights Law Centre (ALHR) acting legal director Adrianne Walters said these laws would be a critical step to safeguarding women’s health and equality.


“For far too long, women in South Australia have had to navigate the abuse of strangers, just to see their doctor. This kind of distress, fear and anxiety caused to patients and staff is unacceptable. Safe access zones around clinics work to protect a woman’s safety and privacy from anti-abortion activists where other laws have failed,” she said.

Abortion still remains regulated in South Australia by 50-year-old criminal laws. They make it much harder for women in regional and remote areas to access the care they need.

The proposed laws would create protective zones around abortion services and prohibit harassment, intimidation, filming and other distressing conduct. Safe access zones have been upheld by the High Court and enacted in every state and territory, except Western Australia.

“No person should have to run a gauntlet of abuse to see their doctor,” said Ms Waters.

“The High Court has made it clear that safe access zones have an important role to play in protecting a woman’s right to access healthcare safely.”