Victorian Upper House passes abortion clinic protest buffer zone law

Anti-abortion protesters

Anti-abortion protesters Photo: Graham Tidy

A ban on protesters going within 150 metres of abortion clinics has become law in Victoria after the upper house voted overwhelmingly in favour of the bill.

The legislation - which makes it an offence to film people without consent or block access to footpaths, roads and vehicles within the zone around GP clinics, hospitals and other health services offering abortions - was passed by 31 votes to eight in the early hours of Friday morning.

"Women have a right to medical privacy and the right to access a legal health service without harassment or intimidation," Health Minister Jill Hennessy said.

Women's health campaigners also welcomed the news.


"Thanks to the bill, women making personal and often difficult health decisions in relation to pregnancy can expect the same degree of privacy, safety and dignity that all Victorians are entitled to when accessing health services," Rita Butera, executive director of Women's Health Victoria, said.

The bill was first introduced by Sex Party MP Fiona Patten before being co-opted by the government.

It was voted through on Tuesday night, but then went into the committee stage, with opponents demanding details of the finer legal points in a marathon parliamentary debate.