It was indeed, as described by Dr Kathy Lewis, a “bittersweet moment”.
It seems difficult to believe that after such a long fight by the people of Albury-Wodonga, the Border’s abortion clinic has shut just as the protesters have been shut-out.
But that is the decision that has had to be taken by Dr Lewis, the Englehardt Street clinic’s owner.
This comes of course in the wake of the recent NSW government decision to create safe access zones.
The protesters from Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, who caused so much distress to so many women and supporters attending the clinic, would probably feel a degree of satisfaction about the development.
Dr Lewis says the issue stemming from the protesters “have been quite bad” but it is telling how buoyed she has been by the community’s support.
The issue of those attending the clinic being entitled to privacy for what is a legal procedure certainly galvanised the Border community, especially in more recent times.
Meetings called by key clinic supporters, including Liz Marmo and Pieter Mourik, were strongly supported.
It is a considerable loss then that Dr Lewis was unable to find someone to continue running the clinic, something she said she would have happily facilitated as long as 10 years ago.
Despite the loss of the clinic, it is a good thing that some of her cases can now be handled, as Dr Lewis noted, by Albury Wodonga Health through the Wodonga hospital.
Some detractors have welcomed the clinic’s closure, such as long-time opponent and Albury councillor Darren Cameron, but it would be fair to say these are in the minority.
And at the very least, any future opening of a similar clinic will at least be afforded the privacy protections afforded by the government’s decision to keep protesters well away.
We must always fight for the right to protest, but it should never put anyone else at risk of either physical or emotional harm.