Canberra, Australia, Oct 9, 2018 / 15:01 pm
Two pro-life activists are challenging Australian "buffer zone" laws in the country's high court in Canberra. The laws in the states of Victoria and Tasmania bar any protests within 150 meters (nearly 500 feet) of a clinic or hospital that performs abortions.
The Victorian case was brought by Kathleen Clubb, a pro-life campaigner who was fined $5,000 in 2016 for "communicating about abortion" to a woman using an abortion clinic. The same year, Graham Preston was fined $3,000 for violating Tasmania's similar buffer zone law.
A doctor was quoted in the Guardian as saying that she believed that protests outside abortion clinics left women intimidated and with "dangerous implications for their health."
But the two plaintiffs are arguing that the laws violate their freedom of speech, since they prohibit political speech in a place where "communications on [abortion] are likely to occur and be most politically resonant."