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High Court Constitutional Challenge - Do abortion clinic protests limit free speech?

Press release October 9, 2018 Monash University

The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University has been granted leave to appear in today's High Court of Australia constitutional challenge on abortion protest laws as amicus curiae. The Centre has provided written submissions to assist the Court with constitutional facts relevant to the Victorian case.

The Castan Centre’s co-authors of the written submission - Dr Tania Penovic, Dr Ronli Sifris and Dr Caroline Henckels - say the Victorian laws do not breach the Constitution.

“The case will determine whether the protesters’ right to express their views overrides women’s rights to access lawful health services without harassment, intimidation and invasions of privacy,” says Dr Tania Penovic.


“What is at stake is women’s safety, dignity and fundamental rights.”



Media opportunities


Dr Tania Penovic and Dr Caroline Henckels are available for comment in the lead up to the hearing, as well as a joint press conference on the morning of the hearing.


Date: Tuesday 9 October

Time: 9:00am (EDST)

Location: High Court forecourt, Parkes Place, Parkes, ACT


  • ·       Dr Susie Allanson, Fertility Control Clinic
  • ·       Katie Robertson, Senior Associate, Maurice Blackburn (lawyers for the Clinic)
  • ·       Dr Tania Penovic, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University
  • ·       Adrianne Walters, Senior Lawyer, Human Rights Law Centre



Contact information


Dr Tania Penovic  0437 459 742 [email protected]

Dr Caroline Henckels 0414 098 725 [email protected]

James Pattison (Monash University media relations) 0422 506 498 / [email protected]


Monash University