Safe Access Zones Established for Abortion Clinics in NSW

This training brochure applies to organisations that provide abortion services.

Public Health Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics) Act 2018 No. 26 (NSW)

The Public Health Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics) Act 2018 No. 26 (NSW) (the Amending Act) commenced on 15 June 2018, amending the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) (PH Act) to provide for safe access zones around reproductive health clinics at which abortions are provided.

Safe access zones

The Amending Act has introduced 3 new offences in relation to safe access zones around certain reproductive health clinics. A reproductive health clinic means any premises at which medical services relating to aspects of human reproduction or maternal health are provided, but does not include a pharmacy.

New section 98C makes it an offence for a person who is in a safe access zone to:

  • interfere with any person accessing, leaving, or attempting to access or leave, any reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided; or
  • obstruct or block a footpath or road leading to any reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided.

A safe access zone is defined to be:

  • the premises of a reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided, and
  • the area within 150 metres of:
    • any part of the premises of a reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided; or
    • a pedestrian access point to a building that houses a reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided.

New section 98D makes it an offence for a person who is in a safe access zone to communicate in relation to abortions in a manner that is able to be seen or heard by a person accessing, leaving, attempting to access or leave, or inside, a reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided and that is reasonably likely to cause distress or anxiety to any such person.

Finally, section 98E makes it an offence for a person to:

  • intentionally capture visual data of another person, without that other person’s consent, if that other person is in a safe access zone; or
  • publish or distribute a recording of another person without that other person’s consent if the recording was made while that other person was in a safe access zone and contains particulars likely to lead to the identification of that other person.

In each case, the maximum penalty for the first offence is 50 penalty units (currently $5,550) or imprisonment for 6 months, or both, and the maximum penalty for any second or subsequent offence is 100 penalty units (currently $11,000) or imprisonment for 12 months, or both.

It is important to note that the offences under sections 98D and 98E do not apply to an employee or other person who provides services at the reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided. For this reason, these two offences have not been included in the new NSW – Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics module.

Conclusion

Subscribers should ensure that staff are made aware of the new offences discussed above and set out in the new NSW – Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics module.

Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au

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