Call for safe ac­cess to health ser­vices

Kalamunda Reporter - - News - Jes­sica War­riner

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.

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.

She said staff had called po­lice on sev­eral oc­ca­sions.

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,” she said.

“This is very dif­fer­ent. This is tar­geted and it is aimed with, not a protest aim, but by in­ter­fer­ing with women. 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 late-stage abor­tions are also per­formed at King Ed­ward Memo­rial Hospi­tal.

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