Dangerous Remedy

Based upon “It’s Not Nice” Dangerous Remedy tells the fascinating story of Dr Bertram Wainer – a story all but forgotten by most.  Before the Menhennitt ruling abortions in Victoria were provided in backyards, or in discreet clinics acting illegally.  Police corruption was rife with bribes paid by some forewarn of raids.  Dr Bertram Wainer helped to change it all.

8:30pm Sunday November 4th 2012 on ABC1

We encourage everyone to watch this telemovie to be reminded of years past and why we are Never Going Back.


Defend the Fertility Control Clinic!

You’re needed!
Saturday, 3 November, 10.00 am
and every Saturday

Defend the Fertility Control Clinic!
Keep Abortion Rights Legal!

The anti-abortion forces are intensifying their attack on legalised abortion in Victoria, so they are increasing their harassment outside the Fertility Control Clinic. Until now, they have routinely appeared in small numbers every morning and in large numbers on the fourth Saturday of each month. Every fourth Saturday, pro-choice activists have stood at the clinic entrance to keep as many as 80 anti-abortionists on the other side of Wellington Parade. Now, the misogynist foetus worshippers are standing in their larger numbers at the clinic entrance every Saturday morning. The organised far right has ramped up their fight. Pro-choicers have to ramp up ours!

On October 13, the fourth anniversary of Victoria’s historic legalisation, pro-choicers turned out in our largest numbers to defend abortion rights. We drowned out the anti-abortionists’ hugely decreased numbers. Rallying each October to mark our legal victory is crucial. Defending the Fertility Control Clinic to make that legal victory real for women exercising their right and for clinic staff working there is urgent!

118 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne
(between Powlett & Simpson Sts)

Like and follow CWRR’s Facebook & Twitter: CWRRMelbourne
Stay in touch for other actions!

What rally were you at?

A NUS Women’s Department blog post took aim the CWRR’s Rally for Abortion Rights.
“These streets are ours – and other words you never thought you’d hear coming out of ‘left wing’ male mouths.”

Debbie Brennan responds on behalf of CWRR


A question: What rally were you at?!

I’m one of the abortion rights rally organisers. I am also a member of Radical Women, a socialist feminist women’s leadership organisation that helped found Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights (CWRR) in 1989. From its beginnings, CWRR has been a united front of organisations and individuals working together to build a broad, militant grassroots reproductive justice movement. This is what it will take to defeat the far right that would have women confined to children, kitchen and church (Kinder, Küche, Kirche). Men have always been active in CWRR, because they understand that a society which denies women our rights is not one they want to live in. This misogynist system, which would relegate women to breeders, housekeepers and cheap labour, is also anti-union, racist, xenophobic and homophobic (half its targets being men). The magnificent number of men at the rally showed what solidarity looks like — something you find distasteful.

I’ll correct your sexist distortions about the rally. Of the two MCs, one was a woman — whom you disappeared, maybe didn’t notice. Of the six speakers, five were women — again, disappeared.

The sexism that underlines your red-baiting is offensive. And your hostility to linking obviously inter-connected struggles is downright mindboggling. Women’s control of our bodies and our lives doesn’t encompass walking freely and safely in our streets? Really? I’ll go further: control of our bodies and lives also means to take our place as leaders in public life, not holed up in a privatised house. Didn’t you hear the loud chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets! Whose world? Our world!”?? As for the poster demanding freedom for Julian Assange — Yes!! The capitalist State, which is ready to waste Assange for telling the truth about its depraved inhumanity, wants women chained to the kitchen sink, bed, playpen and church! It’s so connected!

CWRR did broad outreach for rally endorsements. We contacted the NUS, and we didn’t get a reply. Look at the rally endorsers: unions, feminist, socialist, anarchist, LGBTI organisations, women’s health services, university women’s departments. No NUS. Why?

You’re clearly hostile to the Left — the very movement that consistently hits the streets for women’s rights. You seem phobic about hitting the streets — ie militant grassroots leadership. You fool no one.

Rally for Abortion Rights: Jessica Lenehan

Hello all! My name is Jessica Lenehan and I speak to you today as a student from La Trobe University, and member of the Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights.
We’re here today, all of us, because we believe in a woman’s right to choose.

Because we trust women.

And we know that real choice means the ability to terminate or go to term, although we know which has the more obnoxious lobby group. And to have the support that you need along the way. To then be able to raise your children as best you can, to access doctors, nurses, midwives, doolas; to do what you want to do.
To not be blamed if you can’t afford nutritious food. To not be blamed for being poor, stressed, and sad.
So I want to talk to you about education, and making these options a reality.

This means being able to choose the sex that you want.
This means understanding the consequences of your decisions. And this is supported by education – education is a reproductive right. Access to quality education is so important for women and for their families.

The TAFE cuts are worse for women. This will come as no surprise, and is reiterated in this report. We know that when there are education cuts, when austerity measures come in, when the pressure is on, we know that this burden falls on the most vulnerable.

Education doesn’t just help us get by in this society; it also teaches us how to transform it. With education comes confidence, and with confidence amazing things can happen. Like all of these people coming out today to protest the bigotry and hate of the right-wingers who want to deny women the right to choose. Through education we can learn the history of these struggles, and with education we can win. We won in 2008 and we are never going back! Thank you.

Rally for Abortion Rights: Mary Merkenich

I’m going to start with a short timeline that describes some of the achievements that female unionists, in particular teachers have made.

1884 Victorian Lady Teachers’ Association (VLTA) formed — platform includes equal pay for women teachers

1939-1945 Married women allowed to teach. Prior to this they had to resign when they married. However in this period they can only teach on a temporary basis.

1956 Permanency granted to married women (no superannuation).

1958 A Married Women’s Pension Fund introduced

1968 Women teachers win equal pay!

1975 Married women win right to join the Superannuation Fund.

1976 Teachers win 12 weeks’ paid maternity leave and 5 days paternity leave;
Continue reading

Rally for Abortion Rights – Speeches

At yesterday’s Rally for Abortion Rights none of our intended speakers were able to deliver their speeches due to a compressed time schedule with the arrival of Global Noise and the March for the Babies.

As part of our ongoing efforts to counter the March for the Babies we have asked our speakers if they would like their speeches published.  As they arrive we shall post them here:

Paisley Semrau – a 19 year old feminist activist who has a special interest in human rights

Mary Merkenich – a member of the Teacher & ES Alliance, a rank-and-file activist group in the Australian Education Union, and a member of Socialist Alliance

Jessica Lenehan – a student from La Trobe University and member of CWRR

Chris Johnson – spokesperson for the Australian Sex Party

Debbie Brennan – Radical Women for Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights

We thank our speakers for agreeing to speak at the Rally for Abortion Rights and allowing us to publish their speeches.

Rally for Abortion Rights: Paisley Semrau

Last year I came here and talked about my abortion experience. I mentioned how I was turned away from a doctor when asking for information, and then when I searched the internet I found only pages telling me that I was going to end a life.

I brought this sign because in the year since I had that abortion, I realised that the only life that would have ended would have been my own, if I hadn’t had the right to choose.

I’m here today, and will be here every year, to show that I want to see an end to the anti-choice movement. These people harass women outside medical clinics, even going so far as murdering people. What’s more, they poison people’s minds.

I think most of us who have had, or considered an abortion have been disturbed in some way by anti-choice sentiment. When I was turned away by that doctor, I felt scared and alone. Many women are even psychologically tortured into feeling crippling regret for simply exercising their rights.

However, I don’t think that the extent of the damage caused by the ‘pro-life’ movement ends at harassment. It’s part of a bigger problem. To paraphrase Sister Joan Chittister, these people are not pro-life; they are pro-birth. They don’t care about whether a child is fed, loved, clothed, educated. It’s because this movement does not rally for the life of a foetus, it rallies against the rights of women.

This is a tactic of oppression.  It’s subtler than perhaps, using rape as a tool of war or mutilating the genitals of women, but it is part of the anti-woman agenda. Here in Australia, it is easy for these people to get away with preaching misogyny under the false pretence of religion. They are a vast minority, but hatred does not belong in our society in any concentration.

To show support for choice, as we are doing here and at the clinic defences, shows our strength and our determination to end women’s oppression, because if we can’t control our own bodies what strength can we have?

Thank you to all who came here today to support Victoria’s momentous abortion legislation, and the preservation of women’s right to choose.



Paisley Semrau is a 19 year old feminist activist who has a special interest in human rights