'Trust women, pass the bill': 1000 gather for pro-choice rally on Saturday

‘Trust women, pass the bill’: 1000 gather for pro-choice rally on Saturday

pro-choice rally
An estimated crowd of 1000 women, men and children attended a pro-choice rally in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Saturday morning, ahead of the NSW parliament voting on the upper house bill to decriminalise abortion this week.

If passed, the legislation will remove abortion from NSW’s 119-year-old Crimes Act.

NSW Pro-Choice Alliance chairperson Wendy McCarthy was joined on stage variously by Jane Caro, event MC Dee Madigan, Aboriginal leaders Yvonne Weldon and Professor Larissa Behrendt, Malaika Green, Ursula Yovich and Elana Stone.

Independent MP Alex Greenwich, Greens MP Jenny Leong and federal Labor MP Tanya Plibersek were among the politicians in the crowd.

 

Protestors chanted ‘trust women, support the bill’ and ‘no amendments!’ throughout the rally.

“Amendments are being brought in that have the power to make things worse for women than they currently are and this is not an unintended consequence of these amendments,” Dee Madigan said. “You only have to look at who is bringing in these amendments to know this.”

On Sunday afternoon anti-abortion protestors met at Hyde Park to register their opposition to the proposed bill. The former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and former deputy PM and current Federal member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, were among the high profile speakers there.

Abbott was cheered by the crowd as he described the proposed legislation as ‘infanticide on demand’.

“It [the bill] is based on a lie. It is not about decriminalising abortion. Whether we like it or not abortion has been decriminalised in this state for more than 40 years,” Abbott said.  “It is a licence for sex-selection abortions, it is a licence for late-term abortions, it is effectively infanticide on demand … You don’t have to believe in anything other than the basic decency of every human being to think that we should never have infanticide on demand.”

Barnaby Joyce said this debate is “the slavery debate of our time”. He also made the profound observation that  “There is not one person here who was not born …”

It is telling that eight of the nine speakers listed to address the anti-abortion rally were men. Dr Rachel Carling from NSW Right to Life was the only female listed.

In the realm of reproductive rights it’s women’s choices that need to be supported. It’s women who need to be trusted. Their body. Their choice.

Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce making decisions about womens’ bodies? No thanks.

Frankly you’d be hard-pressed to find a group of decision makers as ill-suited and inadequate to influence policies relating to women, and their autonomy, as the line up on Sunday afternoon.

May the strength and conviction of the speakers and protestors on Saturday prevail.  The bill will be debated in the NSW upper house from Tuesday.

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