Anti-abortion activists should be allowed to protest outside the clinics, even if it hurts the dignity of women entering clinics or hurt their feelings, the lawyers for anti-abortion protesters argued today.
On Tuesday, the High Court held a hearing on the anti-abortion activists’ constitutional appeal against the Tasmanian and Victorian laws banning protests in “safe zones” outside abortion clinics.
Guy Reynolds, lawyer of the protesters, Kathleen Clubb’s and Graham of Bristol, argued for a radical expansion of the implied freedom of political communication to the public right to protest in public places.
Reynolds began his case with a swipe of Tasmania “eye-catching” safe zone law, which he said “directly” on the Prohibition of detention in relation to a particular topic – abortion – which is “often of a political nature”.
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Unlike the Victorian law which prohibits the communication “reasonably likely to cause stress or anxiety” – Reynolds said Tasmania law “not sewing for any particular purpose” of the Prohibition of the anti-abortion views outside clinics.
Reynolds provided a safe zone breach the laws of the implied freedom of political communication because it B the peace that would “not otherwise illegal”. Citing a large number of laws that already prohibit “threats, harassment, obstruction and intimidation,” said laws not justified by public safety because the only incremental effect of the Prohibition of peaceful protests.
Judges Michelle Gordon Virginia Bell raised that the purpose of law is to preserve the dignity of women and to prevent, deter from seeking medical services.
Bill suggested that women are “in a vulnerable state, that require advice and treatment in a confined period of time” that exposure of fetuses in different stages of development “may deter people” because of their impact on the psychological state of privacy.
Reynolds replied: “This is not mischief, which was established by the evidence” and the law was not commensurate with the imposition of a ban on the behavior is reasonable likely to affect access but instead was a ban on all protest.
Earlier he offered that it was “inherent in political discourse [that] groups or individuals will be criticized or subject of commentary, with the consequent loss of dignity”. To prevent negative repercussions on others dignity or “hurt feelings” was never the objective of the draft law.
Reynolds compared the anti-abortion views that may harm the dignity of women seeking abortion “criticism of the bankers” or “the criticism of men by feminists” as “part and parcel” of the political discourse.
Reynolds cited the development of jurisprudence in Hong Kong for reasonable access to the highway to indicate that there is a common law right to freedom of Assembly and the use of public space for protest.
Attempts to expand the Australian jurisprudence were given a short overview by the president of the Court Susan Kiefel, who referred to the Australian law does not recognize the communication of political matters, only a tacit war that determine of the Legislature and “not really personal”. Reynolds admitted that his message was “non-traditional”.
Reynolds claimed that the Tasmanian law would be to ban the expression of anti-abortion views, even if given with the consent of the beneficiary.
Justice Bell noted that the law may have a moral element, which requires proof of knowledge of the person of the conditions that lead to the need of Criminal personal, which would avoid the “serious consequences” the criminalization of people is just a response to the request for information.
Other justices wondered if the conversations were private and consensual exchanges can form protests.
Reynolds to anti-abortion protests of the “great communicative power” when held outside the clinics perform abortions, likening them to the apartheid protests held in sporting events involving South Africa national team.
The Victorian government has defended the laws on the basis that it is legitimate to protect the safety, privacy and dignity of persons with legitimate access to medical services and other staff access to abortion clinics.
Coalition governments in New South Wales, South Australia and the association as well as Labor governments in Queensland and in Western Australia have intervened in the case to defend the safe zone laws.
Before the meeting, a senior lawyer with the Centre for Human Rights Law, Adrian Walters, the safe zone laws “strike the right balance between freedom of expression and the right of women in the private sector and safely see the doctor”.
“Anti-abortionists outside clinics caused serious distress and fear and anxiety of patients and staff.”
The sky continues.
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