Wom*n's Collective and Queer Collective Stage Protest Outside Parliament House
WORDS BY EDEN FAITHFULL
At 2.30 this afternoon, the University of Sydney Wom*n’s Collective and the Queer Collective stood in protest outside the NSW Parliament House. The action intended to ‘name and shame’ the twenty-five Members of Parliament that voted down Dr. Mehreen Faruqi’s abortion decriminalization bill, that was introduced earlier this month.
The protestors hung coat hangers on the gate in front of Parliament House that featured the names and faces of every MP that voted against the bill. Below them was a banner that read ‘Never Again’. The Wom*n’s Collective said they hoped the stunt would send a message to the Senators that “Never Again” will “our bodies, be your choice”.
Co-Wom*n’s Officer of the USyd SRC, Katie Thorburn, led the protestors in chants and later engaged in conversation with Faruqi herself, who visited the demonstration.
“Keeping abortion illegal, does not make the need for abortion illegal. We need safe, free and accessible abortion services so pregnant people do not endanger themselves with the practices that we hoped would be kept in the past,” Thorburn said.
Interestingly – yet devastatingly unsurprisingly – the coat hangers featured a group predominantly male MP’s faces, who will notably be personally unaffected by the consequences of not passing the bill that was slated to save the lives of hundreds of pregnant people.
Co-Wom*n’s Officer, Imogen Grant also weighed in on the conversation.
“With 73 percent of NSW residents supporting decriminalisation, the voting down of the bill was a sad indictment of our politicians and clearly exposed their undemocratic tendencies. Nonetheless, more people are aware of the terrible legal status quo in NSW than ever before and the momentum behind the community campaign remains strong.”
At the end of the demonstration, Faruqi thanked the students that comprised the contingent, saying that it was incredibly important for those outside of Parliament to be engaging with the issues that face child-bearing people, and offered to sit down and brainstorm future actions.
Co-Queer Officer Connor Parissis was also present at the protest.
“The action being taken here today is a necessary response to the bill voted down in NSW Parliament regarding abortion law reforms. As the Queer Officer from Sydney University, I'd like to see a future where women, trans men, and non-binary people of all genders may have safe access to abortions,” they said.