Mr David Vakalis1
1Monash University, Melbourne , Australia
Like other places in North America and Europe, Victoria had struggled to respond in an effective way to the 20 years of sustained protests by anti-abortion ids outside abortion providing premises. In 2015, the newly elected Victorian Government amended the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2005 to create 150-metre ‘safe access zones’ around abortion clinics that, among other things, forbids communication about abortion in a way that may cause distress or anxiety. Whilst being largely successful in its aims, the question being asked in this presentation is: what prompted the Victorian Governmeny to introduce safe access zones after so long? To answer this, I analyse publically available documents and qualitative interviews with key stakeholders. The paper argues that despite numerous compounding factors over many years, it was ultimately more recent factors that heightened social attention of domestic violence, competition between political parties, women’s leadership, and more, that prompted government action. The paper is based on postgraduate research being completed exploring the use and experience of social control in relation to anti-abortionist protesters in Melbourne. The paper will appeal particularly to those interested in policy development and policy advocacy.
David Vakalis is a PhD student at Monash University. His study explores the interaction between social control and the culture wars as it plays out in the context of womxn’s reproductive and sexual health rights. His other research interests include crimes of the powerful, drug use and policing, protest/public order policing, and right-wing movements.