Judgment to be handed down in case against Melbourne City Council over safe access to fertility clinic
25 August 2015
Chee Chee Leung
The outcome of a legal bid to ensure safe access for patients and staff at an East Melbourne fertility clinic will be handed down tomorrow, Wednesday 26 August, at the Victorian Supreme Court.
Justice Michael McDonald will deliver his judgment at 9.30am tomorrow on the legal action launched by the Fertility Control Clinic against Melbourne City Council over anti-abortionists.
Members of the anti-abortion group, Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, have for decades harassed and intimidated patients and staff outside the clinic.
Social justice law firm Maurice Blackburn and the Human Rights Law Centre are running the case on a pro-bono basis for the clinic.
Katie Robertson, associate at Maurice Blackburn, said: “For years the clinic has repeatedly called on the council to address the harassment that occurs outside the clinic but the council continues to pass the buck. We’re hoping this decision will change that and compel the council to act while also prompting our political leaders to take action and support safe access zones.”
Emily Howie, director of advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said: “Women should be able to access all health services without being harassed. We are looking forward to a decision for our client on this matter, but more broadly, we’re looking to our political leaders to fix this problem by introducing safe access zones for reproductive health clinics across Victoria.”
The case has been run with the generous assistance of Peter Hanks QC, Kristen Walker QC and Therese McCarthy, who also provided their services pro-bono.