Abortion reform: David Seymour doesn't want 'safe zones' around abortion clinics

All eyes are on ACT leader David Seymour on Tuesday night as politicians debate abortion law reform and decide whether it will go to a referendum.

Seymour is aiming to stop 'safe zones' being created around clinics. The abortion reforms would allow clinics to apply to be in a zone so staff and patients couldn't be intimidated or obstructed on their way in.

The ACT leader wants them removed from legislation, but Justice Minister Andrew Little sees them as providing protection.

"That safe zone proposal is about preventing women from being harassed," Little says.

"Women simply should not be subjected to that [harassment] going off to have a medical procedure."

But Seymour has a different view.

"People that want to start banning speech in a particular area for, I agree a noble purpose, should think very carefully about the precedent that it sets."

Safe zones were not recommended by the Law Commission in its report to Little and weren't requested by healthcare providers.

Abortion is currently in the Crimes Act and women have to use a loophole to make it legal. Two doctors have to agree that pregnancy would put the woman in physical or mental danger.

If it becomes law, the Bill will remove any statutory tests for women who want an abortion before 20 weeks.

After 20 weeks women would need two doctors to agree that an abortion is the right choice. This change was introduced during a select committee in October. 

There have been protests on both sides of the debate with pro-life activists marching to Parliament with graphic signs depicting dead fetuses. Meanwhile, pro-choice protesters organised large marches and counter-demonstrations.