ACT Women's Minister Yvette Berry says the community must ultimately decide whether exclusion zones should be put in place to thwart pro-life prayer vigils outside Canberra's abortion clinic.
The Greens' Shane Rattenbury is moving to outlaw protests outside the Civic clinic, and released draft legislation this week aimed at putting an end to the regular gatherings.
Mr Rattenbury aims to ban the vigils and prevent anti-abortion protesters handing out material to women coming and going from the Moore Street building, with hefty fines of up to $3750.
Canberra Goulburn's Catholic Archbishop Christopher Prowse led prayers during the campaign, prompting women's groups to re-examine whether exclusion zones could be a viable option in the ACT.
Ms Berry wrote to the ACT Right to Life Association and Archbishop Prowse in March and asked the group to move any future prayer gatherings to Civic Square, but her request fell on deaf ears.
She said a public discussion about the proposed exclusion zones "could be a way to go" but she would like to have a "bigger conversation" in the community.
"I want to make sure women who are accessing legal health support in the ACT that they're able to do that without feeling shamed or alarmed by anybody that's outside of any of those health clinics."
Ms Berry said she would continue to speak with women, women's groups and Mr Rattenbury about the proposed laws.
"I really want to make sure it's the community that decides whether or not this is appropriate for that sort of behaviour outside of a health clinic where people are accessing a legal health service, and whether or not we need to do something about that."
The Right to Life Association this week hit back at the plans and accused Mr Rattenbury of attempting to curtail freedom of speech for his own political ends.
Mr Rattenbury insisted the zones were not about denying people's right to protest and people could make their point outside the ACT Assembly, Parliament House or elsewhere.
He released his draft legislation for comment on Monday and hopes to have it debated in the Assembly by the end of the year.
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