Australian pro-lifers lose challenge to abortion clinic buffer zones
FREE Catholic Classes
Australia's high court on Wednesday threw out cases brought by pro-life activists challenging "buffer zone" laws in Victoria and Tasmania that bar any protests within 150 meters (nearly 500 feet) of a clinic or hospital that performs abortions.
Canberra, Australia, (CNA) - In its April 10 decision, the court said that "given that the proscription leaves protesters free to conduct protests in relation to terminations outside the access zone, and that there is no evidence or other reason to accept that political protest against terminations outside the access zone is any less effective as a tool of political persuasion than protest within", the buffer zones' effect on political freedom was "negligible".
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.
Both plaintiffs argued 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."
Clubb has said that "the prohibition applies whether or not discomfort is caused, and irrespective of the political significance of the communication in the circumstances" and that the appeal asked "whether a prohibition of that kind is compatible with a constitution which protects a freedom of political communication."
Their lawyers had argued that because there are already laws in both states that protect against harassment and intimidation, the only further effect of the buffer zone laws is essentially to ban peaceful protest, and that Australia grants an implied freedom to political speech.
The court responded to the "implied freedom" argument saying that "it is no part of the implied freedom to guarantee a speaker an audience, much less a captive audience."
It added that "the limited interference with the implied freedom is not manifestly disproportionate to the objectives of the communication prohibition. The burden on the implied freedom is limited spatially, and is confined to communications about abortions. There is norestriction at all on political communications outside of safe access zones. There is no discrimination between pro-abortion and anti-abortion communications. The purpose of the prohibition justifies a limitation on the exercise of free expression within that limited area."
The governments of Victoria and Tasmania had contended that the laws are designed to allow women to access legal medical services.
The Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory, New South Wales, and Queensland have similar buffer zone laws.
Buffer zones are being debated elsewhere, including in the United Kingdom. British Home Secretary Sajid Javid rejected proposals for buffer zones around abortion clinics throughout England and Wales as disproportionate in a Sept. 13, 2018 decision, after finding that most abortion protests are peaceful and passive. Local jurisdictions in England and Wales are able to establish their own buffer zones.
In the United States, three states have passed buffer zone laws: Colorado, Montana, and Massachusetts.
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2019
Young People and the Example of Mary. That young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.
More than twenty journalists in Australia faced court charges Monday over breach of a court gag order in the case of Cardinal George Pell. ... continue reading
Australia's high court on Wednesday threw out cases brought by pro-life activists challenging "buffer zone" laws in Victoria and Tasmania ... continue reading
A former inmate in Canada credits volunteers and staff members working in prison ministry in the Archdiocese of Vancouver with helping to ... continue reading
Fr. Hugo Valdemar, the canon penitentiary of the Archdiocese of Mexico, said Monday that through Spanish missionaries we have received from ... continue reading
The Bishop of Cuernavaca, Mexico has encouraged Catholics to intensify their prayers for peace, after the publication of a report that 15 ... continue reading
FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Thursday, April 25th, 2019 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, April 24, 2019
- Pope Francis gifts 6,000 rosaries, asks for prayers on name day
- National Catholic Prayer Breakfast hears call for 'Catholic great ...
- Prayer Requests Live for Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 HD Video
- St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, April 24, ...
- Appeals court: House not required to accept 'secular prayer' at start ...
- Prayer Requests Live for Monday, April 22nd, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, April 22nd, 2019 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.