Dunedin Hospital now has a Safe Area in place, as outlined in section 13(C) of the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Act 2022, which was gazetted on 27 July 2023 and came into effect from 25 August 2023.
What do Safe Areas do?
Safe Areas cover up to 150 metres around a premise where abortion services are provided. They prohibit certain behaviours that could be considered distressing to a person accessing or providing abortion services.
Why were Safe Areas introduced?
Safe Areas are designed both to protect people accessing and providing abortion services and to respect the privacy and dignity of those people. Abortion is a health service under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights. This means people engaging with abortion services are protected by this code. This includes the rights to be treated with respect, freedom from discrimination, coercion, harassment and exploitation and the right to dignity and independence.
Are Safe Areas known to the public?
Information about abortion services providers with Safe Areas can be found on the Manatū Hauora (Ministry of Health) website, including maps showing the boundaries of Safe Areas.
Here is a map of Dunedin Hospital's Safe Area:
The Dunedin Hospital safe area is the area enclosed by a line that:
- begins at the intersection of Gowland Street and Clarendon Street, then
- proceeds in a generally southerly direction following the eastern side of the footpath to 205 Castle Street, then
- proceeds along a curved line following a 150 m radius from the boundary of the Dunedin Hospital land parcels to George Street, then
- proceeds in a north-easterly direction to 449 George Street, then
- proceeds in a north-easterly direction along a curved line following a 150m radius from the boundary of the Dunedin Hospital land parcels to 452 George Street, then
- proceeds to the point described in 1.
What behaviours are prohibited in a Safe Area?
The behaviours prohibited in a Safe Area are outlined in section 13A(1) of the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Act 2022. Certain behaviours that may be distressing to a person accessing or providing abortion services or attempting to stop a person from accessing or providing these services are prohibited within a Safe Area.
Examples of prohibited behaviours include:
- blocking entrances to premises or preventing people from entering or leaving
- photographing or videoing someone in a manner that is likely to cause emotional distress to someone accessing or providing abortion-related services
- approaching a person to provide information about abortion services (unless part of the provision of services)
- approaching a person to attempt to dissuade them from accessing these services
- providing anti-abortion pamphlets or similar materials (unless part of the provision of services, or by a person who is accompanying the person accessing services)
- engaging in protest about matters relating to the provision of abortion services
How are Safe Areas enforced?
New Zealand Police will primarily be responsible for the enforcement of safe areas. A person convicted of engaging in prohibited behaviour within a safe area can be liable for a fine of up to $1,000.
What should we do if we have safety concerns about our Safe Area?
If there are prohibited behaviours occurring within an established Safe Area, call Police on 105 and immediately state that you are within an Abortion Safe Area. If there is a clear emergency happening now, call 111 and state you are within an Abortion Safe Area.
If private residences fall within our Safe Area, are they impacted?
The Act would prohibit putting anti-abortion signage that is visible to the public (e.g., on lawns or fences) within private residences within a Safe Area. Other impacts are minimal because any prohibited behaviour would need to be seen or heard from people outside the private residence.
What counts as a form of protest?
Protests relating to the provision of abortion services that can be easily seen or heard by another person accessing, providing, or assisting with providing, abortion services are prohibited in Safe Areas.
If you have ongoing concerns about behaviour of people within your Safe Area, please talk to your local Police area prevention manager. If you are wishing to report the behaviour straight away call 105, or if there is an emergency involving immediate risk to persons or property call 111.
You can find more information about Safe Areas, the prohibited behaviours and the regulations on the Ministry of Health’s website: Safe Areas | Ministry of Health NZ
Media enquiry: email@example.com
Safe Area locations: Safe Area locations | Ministry of Health NZ