The Bullies and Cowards No Show

On the last Parliamentary sitting day for 2012 only prochoice messages were seen by Victorian MPs.

Like the true bullies and cowards they are Helper’s of God’s Precious Infants (HOGPI) did not show up at Parliament this morning. This is despite pledging to be in attendance on each of the 70 sitting days of Victoria’s parliament this year.

Dozens of cars, cyclists and even a few trams sounded their support for a woman’s right to reproductive choices demonstrating that Victorians in their majority support choice.  As they drove into the Parliamentary car park, Victorian MPs saw women and men standing together supporting choice.
dec 13 aVictoria Police had expected HOGPI to show up, providing half a dozen officers to keep an eye on proceedings. When it was clear they weren’t turning up with their banner the police departed and left us to continue our peaceful action.

The failure of HOGPI to show up (again) demonstrates how prochoice action is making a difference in Victoria. Their Rosary Parade has failed to turn up at the Fertility Control Clinic since October.  As the bullies they are, when confronted, they hide away like cowards.  Our presence keeps them from intimidating women accessing services at the clinic and gives a voice to the prochoice majority outside Parliament.

dec 13 bOur success requires your ongoing support.
We have two more clinic defences before Christmas.
Fertility Control Clinic
118 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne

Saturday, 15 December
Saturday, 22 December
Join us and keep those who seek to intimidate and harass women away from the clinic entrance.


Make your Stand for Choice

On each Parliamentary sitting day (bar one) Helpers of God’s Precious Infants has protested at the entrance to the Victoria’s Parliament House car park as part of a concerted campaign to recriminalise abortion. They’ve displayed a banner marked with crosses, representing the number of abortions alleged to have occurred in Victoria in 2012. They claim that by the end of the year, the banner will extend the length of the street.hogpi_21

We plan to peacefully stand shoulder to shoulder on Macarthur Street to demonstrate that despite all their efforts, safe and legal abortion is here to stay.

Join Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights (CWRR) on 13th December 2012 – the last sitting day of Parliament for 2012 – for a Counter Protest.

Make your Stand for Choicehonk-if-ur-pro-choice
Thursday 13th December 2012 – 7:30am-9:30am
Macarthur Street, East Melbourne

Hold our “HONK IF UR PRO-CHOICE” signs – hold your own sign – or simply make your stand for choice.

With each honk of a car horn our presence we will remind MPs that the vast majority of Victorians believe in a woman’s right to choose – and we’re Never Going Back!

Our Clinic, Our Bodies, Our Choice! Mass clinic defence keeps away harassers

On November 24, more than 250 pro-choicers rallied outside the Fertility Control Clinic to defend it from the “Helpers of God’s Precious Infants” (HOGPI), who stage a monthly “Rosary Parade” of up to 80 anti-choice zealots. Melbourne Feminist Action organised the mass defence. A handful of “Youth 4 Life” stood across the street holding yellow balloons, but the HOGPI decided not to show up!

Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights has defended the clinic for more than seven years. Debbie Brennan spoke for CWRR about why the clinic must be defended and full reproductive justice fought for:

“Congratulations to Melbourne Feminist Action — its first action!!

Savita Halappanavar’s death in Ireland is a tragic reminder of why we are here today. We’re here to say Never Again! Not in Victoria, not in Australia, not in Ireland, not anywhere!

Today is a buildup from years of fighting for abortion rights and defending this clinic. The Fertility Control Clinic has endured daily harassment since the day it opened its doors 40 years ago. These fanatics are the minions of far-right and religious forces on a mission — which is to domesticate women to be mothers and housewives.

Victoria’s legalisation of abortion four years ago was historic! It took decades of dogged organising by activists against a tiny but powerful far right. We now have to defend that victory from the same powerful forces that are hell-bent on overturning the reform. This anti-abortion minority is part of an ultra-right global movement, and with horror we’ve watched it at work in the United States. There, the movement is using everything it can to overturn 40 years of legal abortion — from referendum ballots and impossible regulations on clinics to bombings and assassinations.

Here, women’s legal right to abortion is violated over and over again — not just outside clinics, but in other ways that aren’t so visible. Religious hospitals refuse to treat or refer women who seek a termination. The far right holds annual protests against the 2008 abortion reform, bussing in people from everywhere. It keeps up the pressure on parliamentarians to recriminalise abortion. Local councils and police claim they have no power to stop harassers from stalking, taking photos, standing at the windows of clinic counseling rooms, and generally bullying people. But they don’t hesitate to threaten clinic defenders with infringement fines and assault charges. The harassment of this clinic is getting so intense that Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights is now defending not every month but every week. If we could, we’d defend it every day. The goal of the anti-abortion movement is to shut down women’s access to safe abortion. Its goal is to deny women any reproductive freedom.

Choice is about every woman making her own decision about having children; it’s about her control over her own body and her life. Abortion is not the only right to choose that’s under attack. Women with disability are sterilised, as young as 11 years old. Aboriginal women and women who are poor have had their children removed by the state. Mothers on welfare just had their parenting payment cut by as much as $100 a week. Working mothers can’t get childcare. Paid parental leave is nothing more than a welfare payment. Public housing is being sold off to private operators. Private rents and mortgage payments are going through the roof. Domestic violence keeps forcing women and their children from their homes. Sexual assault, homphobia and transphobia within the family forces young women, queers and trans people onto the street and into poverty and hard futures. The public health system is at breaking point. Public education and training is being gutted. Community and public sector services are being decimated. Sex education and freely available contraception are still demands we have to fight for. So are decent, secure jobs, equal pay and a livable income for all. As long as a woman is forced into dependency on a man or welfare, as long as society fails to provide for her and her children’s needs, as long as sexist, racist and anti-disability discrimination strips her of the right to be a mother, then she does not have choices. There’s a word for this: Misogyny!

In the far right’s world, living people are nothing; the foetus is everything. It’s about fertility control, like the clinic’s name says — but under whose control? Not the woman. For the far right movement and the powers that be, women must live by the rules of the state and the church, according to the profit system’s needs. Her place is in the home, breeding workers and looking after them — at no cost to profit, but at every cost to us. And when she has to work to get some money, she’s cheap labor.

This is why this clinic needs defending! Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights is defending every Saturday up until Christmas. We are also organising a counteraction against the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants on the last sitting day of Parliament for this year — December 13. Please take a leaflet with all the information. And join us!

If we’re going to win reproductive justice for women, we’re going to have to build a movement. We’re going to have to organise and make it very loud and very clear that women are not incubators. We are not mothers on demand. We are not unpaid nursemaids or domestic slaves. We are nobody’s property! What we are is angry and, when we organise, we’re formidable. It will take a grassroots, feminist movement to protect this clinic and win what women need to have real choices. We cannot look to state authorities and parliament to step in and do it. They won’t rock the capitalist boat. We will, because we have to. The court ruling in 1969 that gave women a limited legal way to get an abortion would not have happened without a movement. Along with Bertram and Jo Wainer, we won this clinic! We won the legalisation of abortion in 2008. We have to defend these wins and fight for more. And today gives us a glimpse of what we’re capable of!

Here’s a chant that’s a clinic defenders’ favourite: Not the Church! Not the State! Women will decide their fate!

See you next Saturday!”

Dr Jo Wainer speaks to why we defend

Dr Jo Wainer on the anti-choice activists outside the Fertility Control Clinic:

“There are a handful of people who somehow take it upon themselves, give themselves permission, to behave extremely badly in a way that wouldn’t be tolerated under any other circumstance and it astonishes me that they are still tolerated today.
Because I make the analogy Jonathan that if a group of Muslim people stood outside a Jewish school and yelled abuse and behaved in a way that these people behave toward women and their families and partners who come that clinic they would be shut down in thirty seconds. But for some reason because these are attacks on pregnant women it’s tolerated, and I don’t understand why.”

Radio National Sunday Extra – Sunday 4 November 2012

In recent weeks anti-choice activists have been in front of the Fertility Control Clinic in ever increasing numbers.  The pro-life mass and rosary parade that used to occur every fourth Saturday of the month is now on a flexible schedule to avoid the clinic defence.  We need to step up our efforts to keep anti-choice activists away from the clinic entrance.

Join us every Saturday at 10am.  118 Wellington Parade East Melbourne.

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.