An open letter to the Rosary Parade in Melbourne


To the participants of the Rosary Parade in Melbourne,

Yesterday one of your brethren committed a most unchristian act and did so in front of each and every one of you.

I’d like to know what are you willing to do about it?

The fourth Saturday of each month is the regular date for you and other anti-abortion Catholics to attend a “Pro-Life Mass” at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne, and then participate in a Rosary Parade to the location of the Fertility Control Clinic.

I stand among the defenders which yesterday kept your Rosary Parade to the opposite side of Wellington Parade, away from the entrance to the clinic.

Yesterday a young man, whose partner was inside the clinic, was standing with the clinic defenders on the clinic side of Wellington Parade. Understandably he felt more comfortable with our support than yours.

During the stand off  he moved…

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Rally for Abortion Rights: Chris Johnson for the Australian Sex Party


As you can see, I am male. You’ll have to trust me when I tell you I have a penis.  I don’t have a vagina or a uterus.
Over there is Bernie Finn.  Another male, and as disgusting as it is to think about, I’m pretty sure he also has a penis, not a uterus.
But I’m not here to get personal.  I’m here to talk common sense.

Bernie and I will never know how it feels to be pregnant. We will never experience the swollen ankles, swollen nipples, sore back or pressure on our bladder that comes with being pregnant. We will never face the choice of deciding if we are ready to bring life into this world. As men we will never have the final decision of bringing life into this world or choosing to terminate a pregnancy.

Men should trust women to make their own decisions. Men should support women in their decisions.  Men should only be pro-choice – whatever that choice may be – and any man who can’t support a woman’s decision – a woman’s choice –  isn’t worthy of a place in Parliament.

Anti-choice activists try to justify their opposition to the 2008 law change, but can only do through lies and misrepresentations.
They say that medical professionals don’t have to mandatorily report suspected sexual abuse, when in fact the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 requires mandatory reporting of suspected sexual abuse.
They say that abortion is available for any reason until birth, when in fact abortion is limited after 24 weeks of gestation.
They say that informed consent is not required, when in fact informed consent is required before a medical professional can perform a procedure.
They say that medical professionals are not allowed to exercise conscientious objection to abortion, when in fact Section 8 of the Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 does allow conscientious objection. Medical professionals still have a responsibility to their patient and must refer their patient to a medical professional who does not have a conscientious objection to abortion. Any medical professional who cannot place the patient first and refer them on, doesn’t deserve to be a medical professional.

Many of them stand outside medical facilities to intimidate women – yet they say they are pro-woman.

They say that women should be forced into counselling before an abortion – yet they say they are pro-woman.
They say that women should be forced into mandatory waiting periods – yet they say they are pro-woman.
Forcing women to do things against their choice is not being pro-woman.  Women deserve better than these lies and misrepresentations.

Lies and misrepresentations is all they have beyond their faith.  And it’s their faith they want to impose upon all women.
By all means live your lives by your faith, but stop trying to impose your faith upon others.  This is a secular state, not a religious state, and that is not going to change
Safe and legal abortion is here to stay and we are Never Going Back.
Never Going Back.
Never Going Back.
Never Going Back.

Chris Johnson is a spokesperson for the
Australian Sex Party

Rally for Abortion Rights: Debbie Brennan for CWRR

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!”

Debbie Brennan
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.