Victoria

Mar 13, 2014

Anti-abortion street harassment is not peaceful protest

A women's health clinic is taking Melbourne City Council to court to force it to protect the health and wellbeing of patients and staff. Maurice Blackburn associate Lizzie O'Shea says the anti-abortion activists outside the clinic are not exercising their rights to free assembly, they are threatening the health of vulnerable women.

For decades, patients and staff of Melbourne’s Fertility Control Clinic, which provides abortions and other reproductive services, have been subjected to harassment and intimidation by members of a group called Helpers of God’s Precious Infants (HOGPI). Patients and staff are yelled at, abused, called murderers and whores. They are told all sorts of misinformation about reproductive health, horrifying imagery is regularly on display, and sometimes HOGPI members try to blockade people from entering the clinic.

There is nothing polite or peaceful about their behaviour, and the vast majority of Australians would be appalled by it. In fact, when a security guard was shot dead by an anti-abortion activist Peter James Knight a decade ago, HOGPI was back on the street the next day, harassing people. Needless to say, it is very difficult to treat patients in this climate, especially when much time is wasted trying to calm patients down after they have run the gauntlet of abuse to arrive at the front door.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions

16 comments

Leave a comment

16 thoughts on “Anti-abortion street harassment is not peaceful protest

  1. Dion Giles

    The state, the council, the legal profession, the church – when it’s predators vs prey they seem to line up reliably on the side of the predators. The prey don’t like to be harassed by the predators, and the various organs of the state tell the prey they have to put up with it. For years. I wonder which way the men born to rule would treat people who responded to orgnised harassment of women patients by bunging on demos – abuse, slogans, the lot – outside Roman church services? Week in week out? Any chance they’d sool the law on them?

  2. rhwombat

    What an apposite acronym. I presume HOGPI are funded by Fundies, some of whom have American accents.

  3. wayne wilson

    So the protests where these babies are being slaughtered are not peaceful, would you also be whining if people protested Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust and were not being peaceful, NO. The murder of unborn babies is a disgrace and those involved should be charged with murder. Good on those protesters for standing up for the rights of the child and against the infanticide of these babies, abortion is not a means of birth control, we have condoms, pills and even the morning after pill for that.

  4. wayne wilson

    Abortion is the ultimate violence against a child.

  5. Dion Giles

    There is moral force in Wayne Wilson’s comment, though it overlooks the fact that there are two human beings in a pregnant woman, not just the one. What has to be asked is where the so-called “pro-life” mob and their parties and churches were when killers were plastering the men, women and foetuses of Vietnam, Cambodia and Iraq with thousands of tons of bombs in the ultimate violence against the living targets on the basis of a tissue of lies.

  6. rhwombat

    wayne wilson: eeeevery sperm is sacred….

  7. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Wayne, you are a bloke. What would you know about “means of birth control”? What means of birth control do you use? Oh, I see, none – because you can’t give birth. How dare you presume to know what other people think, want or desire for themselves, their partners or their children?

  8. Steven Grant Haby

    + 1 Hugh. Agree.

    Wayne – let me pose a question to you.

    A simple question.

    Your wife / significant other / girlfriend / sister is sexually assaulted i.e. raped and becomes pregnant.

    What happens then?

    What happens then?

    I’ll ask the question again in case you don’t get it.

    What happens then?

    I have walked past these odious individuals many times … they are the lowest of the low of protesters.

    A woman has the RIGHT to determine her own body’s destiny. Not any narrow minded zealots. Not anyone.

    I look forward to your response.

    Steven

  9. Jill Baird

    if you are so concerned about saving infant lives, Wayne, why don’t you give all you own to help save the lives of those thousands of infants who die every day of malnutrition?

  10. Steven Grant Haby

    +1 Jill

    Good call 🙂

    Agree 100%

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details

Sending...