Dear East Melbourne Resident and Business Owner,
You’re more than likely aware that for forty years the focus of the abortion debate in Victoria has been on your door step. The Fertility Control Clinic on Wellington Parade, East Melbourne has provided its services to women since 1972.
For much of those forty years religious protesters have been present at the entrance to the clinic. These protesters have at times intimidated people attending the clinic, verbally and physically.
“I was in no position to defend myself from such a cowardly attack
at a vulnerable time in my life.”
Submission by a former patient to the Law Reform Commission.
Sadly one individual went as far as to attack the clinic, murdering a security guard, before he was disarmed.
The Australian Sex Party supports Freedom of Religion and Free Speech; however we don’t believe these freedoms extend to intimidation and harassment.
Anyone attending the clinic, and those who work in the clinic, should be able to enter free from intimidation. Anyone walking past the clinic should be able to do so free of harassment.
You may have seen Australian Sex Party members attending the monthly clinic defence at the clinic. Their presence, along with individuals from other groups, keeps a large anti-choice gathering on the other side of the road well away from the entrance for one day a month. Unfortunately for every other day of the month anti-choice protesters are free to intimidate those entering the clinic.
As such we support the policy of a buffer zone from the entrance to the facility, so that anyone can enter the clinic, or walk past it, free from intimidation.
We would be more than happy to forgo the clinic defence if we could be sure that patients and their families are able to access the clinic unimpeded. That would require enforcement by Council or Police officers; otherwise a buffer zone would be meaningless.
Freedom of Religion and Free Speech would not be threatened by the creation of a buffer zones as they can be exercised freely elsewhere, and your beautiful suburb will be all the more peaceful for it.
The Australian Sex Party
Religious protesters outside the East Melbourne Fertility Control Clinic