‘We won’t go back’: Brisbane abortion rights rally after Roe v Wade

my body my choice pro choice abortion rights sign rally roe v wade us supreme court
Image: Mark Dixon/Flickr

Activist group Equal Love Brisbane are hosting an abortion rights rally in the Brisbane CBD on Friday night (July 1) in response to the US Supreme Court overturning  Roe v Wade.

The top US court’s decision overturned the landmark 1973 ruling recognising abortion as a constitutional right, ending 50 years of legal precedent.

On Friday night, protesters will gather in King George Square for a rally to oppose the court’s decision, support abortion rights and call for improvements in Australia.

“In the US, millions have lost their reproductive rights overnight,” Equal Love Brisbane convener Sel Dowd said.

“The decision of the Supreme Court should be met with rage across the globe.

“The Australian right are celebrating a new ‘pro-life era’ being ushered in by this decision.

“These are the same bigots who opposed marriage equality and are pressing for new ‘religious freedom’ legislation [to] expand and extend the rights of religious institutions to discriminate.

“So we can’t get complacent. We need to stop the newly-emboldened conservatives in their tracks. We will not go back.

“This decision shows that laws and precedents are not enough.

“The vast majority of people in this country and in the US support abortion rights. But that force needs to be seen and felt, in mass demonstrations.”

In Australia, nearly all states have reformed laws to decriminalise abortion and treat it as healthcare.

But Dowd said decriminalisation is not enough and accessibility to services remains a problem for Australians.

“We already know it is a postcode lottery for women and people here in Queensland,” Dowd said.

“Marie Stopes closed its clinics north of the Sunshine Coast last year. We desperately need to expand access to reproductive healthcare.”

Perth holds Australia’s first protest rally after Roe v Wade decision

The Brisbane rally starts at 5:30pm at King George Square. The crowd will hear from speakers including Children by Choice CEO Daile Kelleher and Greens MP Amy McMahon, before a march.

It’s one of a number of demonstrations across Australia in light of the US Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade.

There’s also rallies in Melbourne and Adelaide tonight (July 1). Demonstrations in Canberra, Sydney and Wollongoing are on Saturday (July 2).

On Monday, Perth held the first Australian protest rally reacting to the US Supreme Court decision.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the US Consulate in Perth, defiantly chanting, “My body, my choice”.

In Western Australia, abortion laws date back to the 1990s and are among the most restrictive in the nation.

Abortion is still regulated under WA’s Criminal Code, and advocates warn services are inaccessible and expensive.

In South Australia, recent reforms to decriminalise abortion will come into effect on July 7.

The Guardian reported SA Liberal opposition leader David Speirs and other state MPs will join an anti-abortion event on Saturday to mentor “a new generation to rise up and fight for the human rights of the unborn”.

‘Abortion is healthcare, and healthcare is a human right’

Speaking this week, Human Rights Law Centre Associate Legal Director Adrianne Walters said most Australian states have reformed laws to decriminalise abortion and treat it as healthcare.

“However, Western Australia still lags behind. It is beyond time for the McGowan Government to act,” she said.

Walters said the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade is a “devastating blow to the lives of women in America” and highlights the need for vigilance in Australia.

“Abortion is healthcare. Access to abortion is a human right,” Walters said.

“No one should fear prosecution and imprisonment for needing healthcare. But sadly, millions of women around the world do. And now, millions more will in the US.

“What has happened in the US has not happened overnight. Bit-by-bit, year-by-year, anti-choice politicians and campaigners, lawyers and many others have sought to erode women’s reproductive rights.”

Walters said in recent years around Australia, “anti-choice” politicians have borrowed from “the US anti-abortion playbook to try to thwart important reforms in Queensland, NSW, South Australia and through the former Morrison Government’s flawed Religious Discrimination Bill.”

“The situation in the US shows us that we must remain vigilant, as well as doing much more to ensure that every person can access abortion care regardless of their income, where they live or who they are,” she said.

Improve access to reproductive services

However Adrianne Walters from the Human Rights Law Centre warned that legislating is “only part of the picture”.

“Access to reproductive healthcare in Australia is tenuous for many,” she said.

“There is so much more that governments can do to properly fund and support reproductive healthcare around Australia, from increased public funding to nurse-led care.

“This would result in better health outcomes for everyone.”

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1 Comment

  1. Julian
    4 July 2022

    No one can trust Labor MP Chris Bowen’S Religious Discrimination bill dividing Australians instead of uniting them. The Australian Christian Lobby Religious discrimination bill promoting marketing Discrimination against Women, disabled and LGBTQI citizens of Australia.

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