An Australian mother was slapped with a huge fine Wednesday simply for trying to give a pamphlet to a couple going into a Melbourne abortion facility.
An Australian Magistrate’s Court found Kathy Clubb guilty of prohibited behavior within a “safe access zone” and fined her $5,000 for the August 2016 incident, BuzzFeed News reports. The buffer zone prohibits pro-lifers from sidewalk counseling within 150 meters of an abortion facility in the state of Victoria.
“I’ve been fined $5,000 for attempting to save a baby from being killed and for trying to save its parents from a lifetime of regret,” Clubb wrote on her blog.
A mother of 13 children and a pro-life advocate, Clubb was arrested in August 2016 after she violated the buffer zone law by offering materials to a couple outside the East Melbourne Fertility Control Clinic, an abortion facility, according to the report.
The pro-life advocacy and legal groups Australian Christian Lobby and Human Rights Law Alliance are supporting her case. On Thursday, Clubb’s lawyers said they will consider appealing the conviction.
Dan Flynn, director of the ACL in Victoria, added, “This case shows just how draconian the so-called Safe Access Zone laws are by prohibiting people from reaching out to women who are contemplating ending the life of their unborn babies and may be in need.”
Here’s more from BuzzFeed:
Victoria’s health minister Jill Hennessy, who introduced the safe access zones, said the decision was a reminder that “this type of behaviour will not be tolerated”.
“It’s good to see our new safe access zone laws are constitutional and working well,” Hennessy told BuzzFeed News.
The pro-abortion buffer zone is an onerous block of pro-life advocates’ free speech rights. The buffer zone makes it illegal to protest within a huge distance – 150 meters, or 492 feet — of an abortion clinic in Victoria.
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In contrast, the United States Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 35-foot Massachusetts buffer zone law in 2014. The high court ruled that the buffer zone — less than one-tenth the size of Melbourne’s — unconstitutionally restricted pro-life advocates’ freedom of speech.
Clubb said pro-abortion buffer zones not only hurt pro-lifers, but they also hurt the women and babies whose lives could be spared from abortion.
“Experience has shown us that there are some mothers who will choose life at the eleventh hour, right outside the facility that is scheduled to kill their children,” Clubb wrote on her blog. “These mothers say things like: ‘If not for the pro-life advocates outside that abortion clinic that day and the advice they offered about other options, I would also have ended that pregnancy – and my beautiful daughter would not be here today.'[Read the whole testimony here.]
“These distressed women need an offer of help at that crucial moment,” Clubb continued. “‘Safe-access’ zones deny these women that final choice. The opportunity for mothers to change their minds and accept help at the last moment is all but destroyed. …More babies die and are lost to the world forever.”
Abortion activists are pushing New South Wales and Queensland to follow Victoria’s lead and enact abortion clinic buffer zones as well. In 2016, Victoria lawmakers passed the radical new buffer zone law, banning pro-lifers from coming within nearly 500 feet of abortion facilities in the state.