feminist protest

Women protest possible changes to abortion laws

Over 100 people gathered outside Liberal headquarters in Melbourne today to protest against potential changes to Victoria’s abortion laws.

Fears changes will be made to abortion laws arose after Premier Denis Napthine said he’d be willing to consider “on merit” any private member’s bill on abortion.

Independent MP Geoff Shaw, who holds the balance of power, called for an overhaul of section eight of the Abortion Law Reform Act earlier this week. Section eight requires doctors to refer woman to another practitioner if they have a conscientious objection to abortion.

Shaw said the reform has nothing to do with women’s reproductive rights and is about

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doctors being able to follow their consciences.

Protesters chanted “not the church, not the state, women will decide their fate” as they marched to the steps of Parliament around 5pm.

Co-founder of Melbourne Feminist Action Jacinda Woodhead said “it was a really great turn out”.

“The majority of Victorian’s are pro a woman’s choice.”

Yesterday Mr Napthine released a video saying neither he, nor his government “have any intention of introducing legislation that would reduce a woman’s right to choose”.

Notably he didn’t make any mention of a doctor’s duty to refer woman to other clinicians if they object to abortion.

Mr Napthine’s government relies on Mr Shaw’s vote to maintain power in the lower house.

Matilda Marozzi

@marozzi_m

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