A Labor MP pushing for "safe zones" around NSW abortion clinics says it's ironic that whales passing the state's coast are offered more protection than women seeking terminations, who are regularly abused when entering facilities.
A private member's "safe access" bill co-sponsored by Labor's Penny Sharpe and Nationals MP Trevor Khan was introduced into the NSW upper house on Thursday.
If passed, the legislation would create a 150-metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics and make it an offence to film staff and patients without their consent.
"How many women seeking reproductive healthcare will have graphic images of dismembered foetuses shoved in their faces?" Ms Sharpe asked parliament on Thursday.
"How many will have leaflets full of lies about the dangers, risks and consequences of abortions shoved in their hands?"
Under the proposed laws, anti-abortion protesters caught intimidating staff or patients could be fined $5500 or jailed for six months for a first offence.
Repeat offenders could be fined $11,000 or jailed for 12 months.
"Nowhere else in our community do we allow women to be yelled at, pushed and shoved in public places," Ms Sharpe told AAP.
"We're very happy for people to protest about abortion - we know people have very strong views about it - but harassing women as they're seeking treatment is not on."
The Labor MP is "cautiously optimistic" the bill will have enough support to proceed to the lower chamber for debate before parliament's winter break from late June.
Ms Sharpe noted migrating whales are protected by a 300-metre exclusion zone.
"It is ironic that in NSW we have not been prepared to give women that same protection."
The Labor caucus has endorsed the bill, but the coalition's position is not yet known.
The bill also has the support of the Australian Medical Association NSW.
"In the case of pregnancy termination, women do not seek these procedures out lightly and the absolute last thing anyone in those circumstances needs is abuse from strangers," President Kean-Seng Lim said in a statement.
The legislation aims to "ensure people are able to enter and leave reproductive health clinics at which abortions are provided without interference, and in a manner that protects their safety and well-being, and respects their privacy and dignity".
Any conduct occurring in a church or other religious buildings is exempt, as are protesters congregating outside parliament house on Macquarie Street, even if within 150 metres of a clinic.
The Australian Christian Lobby says the proposal will prevent "communication of support" to women considering an abortion.
"If communication is banned within zones around abortion clinics many women will never receive genuine support," ACL NSW director Kieren Jackson said in a statement.
Tasmania, Victoria, the ACT and the Northern Territory already have safe access zones around abortion providers, but the laws in Victoria and Tasmania are being challenged on the basis they interfere with the implied freedom of political communication.
© AAP 2018