About My Legal Challenge to Victoria’s Safe Access Zones
In August 2016, I was arrested for offering help to a couple outside a Melbourne abortion business. The arrest was made under Victoria’s Safe Access Zone Amendment. After many appearances in the Magistrate’s Court, I was finally found guilty on October 11th, 2017.
I was fined $5000 for attempting to save a baby from being killed and for trying to save a young couple from a lifetime of regret.
Fortunately, my case has now advanced to the High Court of Australia, where it will be heard by the full bench from October 9-11, 2018. Graham Preston’s Tasmanian case will be heard alongside mine.
We believe that the law is unconstitutional, because of the limits it places on the freedom of political communication. You can read a summary of my legal team’s submission here, or read all the submissions in their entirety on the High Court website.
What are ‘safe-access’ zones?
‘Safe-access’ zones are found in several countries and are really exclusion zones – also known as buffer or bubble zones. They create spaces where pro-lifers are prohibited from witnessing publicly about abortion. The prohibited behaviour may include silently praying, holding signs, conversing about abortion or approaching abortion-minded mothers. These zones usually take the form of a circle with an abortion facility in the centre, although some are floating zones around the mothers themselves. The size of the zones varies in different parts of the world, with some as small as 6 metres.
Two Australian states have the largest zones in the world: 150 metres. In Victoria, the penalties are particularly severe.
Who benefits from exclusion zones?
The main beneficiary from bubble zones is the abortionist. It’s not uncommon for women to choose life for their babies outside abortion facilities where life advocates gather, and this means lost revenue for abortionists. By enacting exclusion zones, abortion providers are more likely to be able to take the life of each child scheduled to be killed that day, which means more income. It’s simple math.
Who is harmed by exclusion zones?
Everyone is harmed by exclusion zones.
Abortion providers and their staff have less chance of acknowledging the truth about their gruesome business and leaving the industry. Law-makers and the general public have fewer opportunities to learn the truth about abortion, or even that a facility exists in their midst.
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. 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. ‘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. Parents and partners also lose the ability to try and influence a mother to choose life for her child.
More babies die and are lost to the world forever.
The Spiritual Dimension
If you believe, as I do, that humans possess an immortal soul and can be guilty of very serious sin, then you’ll agree that exclusion zones decrease the chance for conversion and repentance from the grave sin of abortion.
In places without exclusion zones, mothers who leave an abortion facility after an abortion are sometimes met by pro-lifers who can offer them the hope of forgiveness, direct them to counselling or affirm their dignity by simply make eye contact.
Exclusion zones also take away that hope from post-abortive mothers.
Donate to the Australian Pro-Life Legal Defence Fund!
This is a big fight and will be a long and drawn-out case, which could take several years. The members of our legal team are exceptionally generous and talented, and we would like to give them as much financial support as possible.
There are three organisations collecting donations on my behalf:
- Family Life International: click here to go to the FLI website, and make your donation with their secure payment system.
- The Melbourne Helpers of God’s Precious Infants: pay by direct debit: Account name: Helpers; BSB: 313 140; A/C No: 1406 1506.
- ACLs Human Rights Law Alliance: click here to make a secure donation.
All contributions, no matter how small, are greatly appreciated!
10 years after Victoria’ shocking Abortion Law Reform Act, Queensland has followed suit and decriminalised abortion to full term.
Bill Muehlenberg reports on the annual March for the Babies in Melbourne – 10 years after abortion was legalised through all 9 months of pregnancy.
Joint press release regarding the constitutional challenge to Victoria’s abortuary exclusion-zones, aka ‘Safe-Access’ zones.