: Abortion buffer zone challenged

Abortion buffer zone challenged

The Tasmanian Committee
Tasmania

Tasmania’s Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Act 2013 which controversially included a 150-metre buffer zone around abortion clinics has been challenged in a test case likely to have repercussions nationwide. Three pro-life protestor were charged after protesting outside a Hobart clinic in April 2015 and within the 150-metre buffer zone. In the first of what is likely to be a number of appeals, the protesters argued that the laws stifled religious freedom and the implied freedom of political communication. At first instance Magistrate Rheinberger however found the charges proved. A couple involved in the protest had no conviction recorded provided they are of good behaviour for 12 months, while the third protestor, a Queensland man who has been convicted on a number of other occasions for similar protests interstate, was fined $3000. An appeal to the Supreme Court is likely with the buffer zones’ constitutional validity likely to be closely watched by other jurisdictions around Australia which have introduced similar legislation or are considering introducing similar legislation.

THE TASMANIAN COMMITTEE

(2016) 41(3) AltLJ 213
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