SHANE Rattenbury has tabled the Health (Patient Privacy) Amendment Bill 2015 that creates privacy zones to prevent protests outside abortion clinics.
“The bill defines a specific area (known as a privacy zone) around an approved medical facility within which protests and other public displays regarding abortion will be prohibited,” Shane said.
“I have received a substantial amount of feedback on the exposure draft bill that was released in August, most of which has been overwhelmingly supportive of the legislation.
“I have made some amendments to the draft Bill that in response to issues that were raised during the public consultation.
“Specifically, media outlets and members of the community were concerned that the provisions in the Bill may potentially hamper someone who has a genuine need to record visual data of either the location or the facility. In response, I have made amendments to address this concern.
“I have also amended the Bill to address feedback related to the designated time period of the privacy zone as it relates to the current operating hours of the clinic.
“Overall, the intent of this final Bill remains the same – to protect a woman’s right to access healthcare privately, safely and without judgement.
“While there may be some in the community who don’t believe the demonstrations held outside the Canberra facility are offensive enough to warrant legislative action, I don’t think, under any circumstances, that it is ok to judge or shame a woman for accessing what is a legal and safe medical procedure during what may be an already difficult time.
“I strongly support the right to protest, and I encourage and welcome a diversity of views and opinions on issues of public interest. However we must ensure the expression of views do not infringe on an individual’s right to access health services,” said Mr Rattenbury.