Protesters should not be targeting women

23 July 2015

In March I wrote to Archbishop Prowse and ACT Right to Life inviting them to bring their meetings, normally held outside the City Community Health Centre, to the Legislative Assembly.

I also offered to meet to discuss their concerns. Unfortunately neither party took up my offer.

Since then I have been talking with Canberra women, the Women's Centre for Health Matters, Member for Bass Michelle O'Byrne MP from Tasmania (who as the Tasmanian Minister for Health introduced exclusion laws - named access zones, for health facilities in Tasmania), my Labor Caucus colleagues, as well as Minister Shane Rattenbury MLA about proposed legislation to create privacy zones.

I agree with the Women's Centre for Health Matters that this is a Health issue and protesters should not be targeting women who are seeking a legal health procedure. 

As Minister for Women I want to make sure that women who are accessing legal health support in the ACT are able to do so without feeling shamed, harassed or alarmed by anybody that’s outside of any of those health clinics.

If protesters have a problem with the law then they should target the law makers at the ACT Legislative Assembly.

I really want to make sure it's the community that decides whether or not it’s appropriate for this sort of behaviour to be allowed outside of a health clinic where people are accessing a legal health service, and whether or not we need to do something about that.

I encourage all Canberrans to provide feedback on the draft legislation.

Here’re a few media stories about this issue: