A DOCTOR at Nanyara Clinic in Rivervale says safe access zones will make a world of difference for women accessing reproductive services.
“They come here when they’ve done their soul searching, done the hard work and made the decision. They don’t have to be confronted by people who are trying to sway them in some way or tell them how bad they are,” clinic doctor Alida Lancee said.
“I have been aware that there’s a group of very regular protesters standing out there in silent vigils… but there are a couple of women who sometimes interfere with the entry of girls into the clinic. Last Friday they put big signs right in the driveway.
“We had one girl come in and she had been on chemotherapy, got pregnant, breast cancer. Of course there was a total medical contraindication to continuing with that pregnancy. She was absolutely beside herself after being confronted.”
Dr Lancee, who has worked at the Rivervale clinic for two years, said the signs were not relevant for many women visiting the clinic for other reasons, such as contraception.
She said staff had called police on several occasions.
She said silent vigils were not a problem, but aggression, descriptive signs and approaching the women was crossing a line.
“You can protest in a neutral environment. This is not a neutral environment. You can protest at Parliament House, you can protest on the streets, wherever you’re protesting to the general public. This is very different. This is targeted and it is aimed with, not a protest aim, but by interfering with women,” Dr Lancee said.
“The fact that we need to tell women on some days to access the clinic secretly via a different way, and of course they still need to come to the front so they’ll still be yelled at, that’s just awful.”
The clinic is one of two places in the metro area providing surgical abortion services, with people coming from all over WA to access health care.
Some later abortions are also performed at King Edward Memorial Hospital.
The Coalition for the Defence of Human Life and 40 Days for Life Perth, who organise weekly vigils outside Nanyara, did not respond to requests for comment.