The Melbourne City Council has refused to ban protestors from sharing pro-life information in front of the Fertility Control Clinic, an Australian abortion facility. According to Nine News, in a letter responding to the complaints the council said that the clinic should get help from the Victoria Police rather than deal with the dispute in court.
However, lawyers representing the abortion facility argue that the council should “protect staff and patients” from pro-lifers who are a “nuisance”. The protesters are from the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, a pro-life group that focuses on prayer efforts and sidewalk counseling to reach those seeking abortion.
On their website, they describe their organization’s mission like this: The sidewalk counselors educate her about the baby’s biological development in her womb, and help her to understand the exact manner in which the abortion will kill her child. They will also warn her of the physical harm the abortion may cause to her own body. The woman will be provided with literature telling of all the help available: financial, medical, and spiritual.”
A psychologist who works at the abortion facility, Susie Allanson, said, “I don’t know whether it falls under the umbrella of sexism or the way violence has not been taken seriously in many respects as well, because I think it is a form of violence and disrespect to women.
She added, “Although we’ve got all sorts of state government, local government, federal government policies about respect to women, women’s participation in society, not showing violence and harassment towards women, nothing so far has been done to address this problem.”
On June 3rd, the court was told that for the last twenty years, up to twelve protestors have gathered in front of the facility and sometimes their numbers grow to up to 100 people. Apparently the abortion facility wants the council to issue protestors prohibition notices or create “buffer zones,” as was done in the United States but later overturned by the Supreme Court.
As LifeNews previously reported, in 2013, the United States Supreme Court decided in an unanimous decision that buffer zones were “inconsistent with the First Amendment” because they ‘restrict access to ‘public way[s] and ‘sidewalk[s],’ places that have traditionally been open for speech activities.
Additionally, The Age Victoria reports that Peter Hanks, QC, told the court that the pro-lifers in front of the facility are breeching section 58 of the state’s Public Health and Wellbeing Act because they are “dangerous to health or offensive and injurious to personal comfort”. Australian Justice Michael McDonald is expected to make a decision regarding the complaint at a later date.