Just days after New South Wales legislated to establish safe-access zones around abortion clinics, a religious picketer was filmed approaching a patient trying to enter a Brisbane clinic.
The footage was taken and published by a volunteer for advocacy group Young Queenslanders for the Right To Choose on Saturday and shows a picketer approaching the doors of Options Clinic in Spring Hill as a patient is entering.
"God hates the hands that shed his blood," the protester tells the woman.
"Just shut up that is so traumatic," the patient responds. "That is so fucking traumatic."
"We're here to help you," the protester says.
"I don't want your help."
"That baby's got a heartbeat love, please turn away, we can help you."
Once the patient is inside the clinic the protester then addresses the right to choose volunteers: "That baby's got a heartbeat and what that is is murder, and you guys are standing, you will stand before God as murderers by supporting this horrific act."
In another video taken on the same day the woman, holding a plastic foetal doll, approaches another patient.
"This is a little 12-week-old baby," the protester says. "That little one that you have has a heartbeat, 10 fingers, 10 toes and God hates the hands that shed his blood."
The state's Law Reform Commission will this month hand down a report into legislation to decriminalise the procedure and enact safe-access zones to protect patients outside clinics in Queensland.
"As each of the patients arrived we had escorts walking with them side-by-side through the protesters and I filmed the protesters, careful not to capture the patients," the volunteer who took the footage, Kate Marchesi, told BuzzFeed News.
"That particular woman who you can hear shouting back to the protesters, as were her support network, was begging the protesters to stop and you can hear her yelling about how traumatic it is."
Marchesi said protesters carry baskets full of baby goods — "baby oil, baby powder and baby clothes"— and escort volunteers regularly removed "children's clothing found on the steps into the clinic".
"We decided to publish the footage because the protesters outside the clinics regularly say that they are sidewalk counsellors who offer support, help and another option to women accessing abortion clinics, and in my experience attending these clinics as an escort this couldn't be further from the truth."
Queensland deputy premier Jackie Trad, who shared the videos on her Facebook page, said that the establishment of safe-access zones in Queensland was "critical".
"We promised the people of Queensland at the last election that we would wait and look at all of the recommendations from the Law Reform Commission," Trad told reporters on Saturday.
"I think some of the harassment that we have seen of women trying to access healthcare has been absolutely disgraceful and I think it is important that as lawmakers we make sure that women are kept safe in their time of need."
Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Gina Rushton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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