Media Releases

The AMA (WA) welcomes “safe access zones” plans

Wednesday February 26, 2020

The Australian Medical Association (WA) has welcomed State Government plans to legislate to protect “safe access zones” around premises that provide legally available sexual health and reproductive health services.

The decision follows a government discussion paper last year and a submission from the AMA (WA).

The AMA (WA) believes strongly that anyone has the right to safely access health care and medical practitioners without obstruction or fear.

“The WA Government’s announcement on this issue is welcome. Patients should be able to access abortion services without difficulty, obstruction or harassment,” AMA (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller said.

The AMA (WA) submission also noted that while medical practitioners should not be expected to participate in clinical or research activities that conflict with their personal beliefs, a medical practitioner who chooses to provide such services should not be subject to discrimination or stigmatisation because they choose to do so.

“All staff who work at healthcare facilities should be able to do so without fear of attack, hindrance or embarrassment,” Dr Miller said.

“We believe that the effective implementation of ‘safe access zones’ should cover all behaviour which could obstruct or impede access to healthcare facilities and healthcare services, or that stigmatise patients and healthcare workers,” Dr Miller said.

“Safe and unimpeded access to medical services is a basic right that must be protected and laws providing such protection should be passed by State Parliament at the first opportunity,” he said.