Debate over free speech and new Tas abortion protest ban

Constitutional law experts disagree about whether a Tasmanian law would be struck down by the High Court. The Reproductive Health (Access to Abortions) Act 2013 establishes “access zones” prohibiting protests “within a radius of 150 metres from premises at which terminations are provided”. Michael Stokes of the Unitersity of Tasmania says that because the ban on protests is total, “[t]he provision breaches the freedom of political communication and is therefore outside the powers of the parliament”. The University of Melbourne’s Adrienne Stone disagrees, because “the protection is conferred on only political communication relevant to federal politics” and abortion law is a matter for the States. At this stage, the debate is theoretical; no challenge to the law has been announced.