Our Supreme Court case, that sought to compel Melbourne City Council to stop the ongoing harassment and intimidation of women entering the East Melbourne Fertility Control Clinic, was a vital catalyst for legislative change. While the case itself did not succeed, it helped to achieve the broader aim of safe access laws for abortion clinics across the state. The significant scrutiny, media coverage and evidence we gathered generated critical momentum.
We worked closely with women’s rights groups to push Victorian MPs for safe access zone legislation. Safe access zone legislation commenced operation on 2 May 2016. For the first time in two decades, patients and staff have been able to access the clinic without harassment and intimidation.
On the first day of the new laws’ operation, clinic psychologist, Dr Susie Allanson said, “Usually we have patients coming in who are crying, we may have partners who are angry, we might have children who are upset. Today has been delightfully uneventful.”