#ArrestUs: 60 women urge authorities to arrest them in NSW

#ArrestUs: 60 women who had abortions urge authorities to arrest them in NSW

Sixty women who each had ‘illegal’ abortions in NSW have laid down the gauntlet and challenged authorities to ‘Arrest Us’ ahead of the state parliament debating a decriminalisation bill today.

The #ArrestUs call was led by Emily Mayo who declared “Now is the time for it to change. Today, it is time again, for those of us who can stand up and speak out to do so.”

The move, backed by high profile women including Wendy McCarthy, Jenna Price, Wendy Bacon and Nareen Young, echoes a campaign McCarthy led 50 years ago.

“In the early 1970s eighty women declared themselves to be criminals in a national newspaper, taking out an advertisement as a provocation in the campaign to decriminalise abortion,” a post on Facebook announced on Monday afternoon.

“Fifty years on and abortion is still technically a crime in NSW. A bill to be debated in NSW Parliament this week seeks to finally change that. Should it pass women in NSW will finally have the freedom to make our reproductive health choices without facing the challenges presented because abortion is criminalised.”

The statement ends: “We have all had abortions under NSW laws that define abortion a crime. We want to be the last. We say: Arrest us.”

Within hours social media was flooded with posts from other women adding their voices and stories of “illegal” abortions to the conversation.

Rallies are already well underway in Sydney with pro-choice and anti-abortion activists gathered outside parliament in Macquarie Street for today’s debate.

The cross-party bill allows for terminations up to 22 weeks and later abortions if two doctors approve. The private bill, introduced by Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich, has the support of Labor and the Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian but other senior ministers are reportedly undecided.

The Uniting Church supports the bill while the Catholic & Anglican Churches are  vehemently opposed.

NSW is the only state in Australia that is yet to reform its abortion laws. It is time.

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