Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights
Never going back!
What a wonderful turnout! This is the third, and largest ever, rally celebrating and defending our historic win four years ago. Radical Women is proud to be a part of Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights in making this possible.
This victory took decades of relentless campaigning to end 50 years of criminalising what should be every woman’s right. Up to the moment of the final vote, the outcome was a nail biter. Now we have to fight to keep what we won and to win more.
What does this tell us? It tells us that a tiny section of the population — less than six percent — that opposes the very idea of women making their own reproductive decisions wields a lot of power. They’re in the churches and in our parliament. They’re in the business world. And they’ll stop at nothing to take this hard-won right away — knowing that it would mean returning women to the days of the coathanger and knitting needles. The March for the Babies that we’re about to stand up to is a mobilisation of the far right, and its aim is to recriminalise abortion in Victoria. This is the face of misogyny.
They can rant all they want about the personhood of cells and saving these so-called babies. But their actual mission is to bring women under control. What drives that mission is an economy that needs women at its service — to breed its workforce and care for it; to step in for the public and community services it decimates; to be its most profitable labor force, underpaid in the workplace and unpaid at home. Without women domesticated, capitalism cannot go on.
The good news is: We’re not taking it! Women and men are standing together and saying that we are never going back! We won’t go back to the backyard. We won’t go back to our children being taken from us because we’re poor or Aboriginal. We’re not going to stay in jobs that are dead-end, meaningless and paid less because of our sex, race or disability. We’re not going to tolerate any woman being sterilised without her consent. We’re not going to allow our transgender and intersex sisters and brothers being denied control of their bodies and their lives or our LGBTI sisters and brothers being denied full reproductive, parenting and custody rights. We demand sex education, free contraception and free abortion access for young women. We demand secure, comfortable housing; free, quality education and healthcare; free, 24-hour childcare for everyone. Not one more assault or murder of a woman on our streets or in our homes! Our bodies, our lives, our right to decide!!
We cannot count on our parliamentarians to protect our rights. Look at the United States, where state by state, legislatures are eroding and demolishing abortion rights that were legalised across the country 40 years ago. That’s what the far right could do here if we don’t stop them.
Today we are taking to the streets. We are unionists, feminists, queers, students, socialists, anarchists, women’s health workers, human rights advocates and more. Next Saturday we, together, will march to reclaim the night. We can stop the misogynists, because we are the overwhelming majority! And we’ve had enough!
Reproductive justice for all women is a core fight — it belongs to everyone. Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights is a united front of everyone who believes in women’s reproductive freedom. Join the campaign so that we can build a movement capable of stopping the anti-choice minority and winning full reproductive rights. Help defend the Fertility Control Clinic on the fourth Saturday of the month, and join our counter-action against religious zealots on Parliament’s last sitting day on December 13. CWRR’s contact list is circulating, and you can follow our Facebook page.
Let’s finish with a favorite chant at the clinic defence:
“Not the Church, Not the State. Women will decide their fate!”
speaking for Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights
October 13, 2012
Debbie Brennan is a longtime reproductive justice activist and member of Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights. She is also the Melbourne Organiser for Radical Women and a community sector workplace delegate for the Australian Services Union.