CCTV of brutal attack outside abortion clinic
SHOCKING footage shows a religious anti-abortion protester punching the partner of a woman who was inside a clinic.
In the footage, obtained by Nine News, a man who was walking outside an abortion clinic in Surry Hills is confronted by an a member of Helpers of God's Precious Infants, an anti-abortion activist group.
After a brief exchange of words, the activist takes several swings at the 21-year-old man before others are seen getting involved.
The incident occurred on January 30, 2016.
The man accused of assault was arrested and charged, but escaped conviction because police could not prove the man's identity.
The anti-abortion group is headed by Paul Hanrahan, a 60-year-old father-of-five. He told Nine News the victim was provoking the group with abusive language.
"After 24 years of engaging in peaceful, prayerful vigils outside abortion clinics, you have one case," he said.
On its website, the group, which has its roots in America, describes itself as "committed to maintaining a loving and prayerful presence outside of the abortion mills".
"We plead with our voices for the lives of the babies being carried in by the pregnant women who have scheduled appointments with the abortionist that day. We ask each mother to change her mind."
They claim vigils are "prayerful, calm and civil".
A private member's bill is set to be introduced to the NSW Upper House which could give NSW women seeking abortions protections from harassers.
The bill would provide a 150m safe access zone around clinics, with protesters caught intimidating patients facing jail time and a fine of up to $11,000.
Tasmania, Victoria, ACT and Northern Territory already have safety zones to protect people seeking abortions from protesters.