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Thematic Issue: Revitalising Legal Authorities

Advancing Reproductive Rights through Legal Reform: The Example of Abortion Clinic Safe Access Zones


Ronli Sifris, Tania Penovic and Caroline Henckels

The past two decades have seen significant reforms in abortion law throughout Australia. From the perspective of advancing women’s reproductive rights, the most significant abortion law reforms have been the decriminalisation of abortion, removal of impediments to accessing medical abortion, the imposition of an ‘obligation to refer’ on medical practitioners with a conscientious objection to abortion, and the introduction of safe access zones around abortion clinics. This article focuses on the introduction of safe access zones as a key legal reform that has been implemented across Australia to support and promote women’s reproductive rights, drawing on empirical research conducted by the first and second authors and discussing this research in the context of the recent High Court decision confirming the constitutionality of safe access zones.

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(2020) 43(3) UNSWLJ 1078: