Last Thursday was another historic day as we saw Mehreen Faruqi’s extreme abortion bill defeated with a large majority: 14 MLCs voted in favour of the bill, and 25 against the bill. This is a win for women, this is a win for children, and this is a win for the citizens of NSW.
This win was helped by the residents of NSW who said “no” to this extreme bill. With 56,559 signatures for the parliamentary petition, with the phone calls, with the letters, the undecided MLCs knew that this is the outcome that NSW wanted. And it’s the outcome that NSW got.
But the fight isn’t over. On the horizon is a bubble zone bill, the Summary Offences Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics) Bill 2017. This bill, put forward by Penny Sharpe MLC, seeks to restrict freedom of speech around abortion clinics. Under this bill, expressing an audible or visual opposition to abortion would be forbidden around abortion clinics. This bill is disguised as offering “safe access” to abortion clinics, suggesting that there are often protesters outside abortion clinics who verbally abuse and physically harass clinic workers and clients. If there is genuinely an issue with aggressive protesters harassing women outside clinic, then why aren’t we seeing them charged by police under existing laws? The goal of the bill is to prevent women being offered real choice by people peacefully offering support and counselling, something many women so desperately want. Under different circumstances, these so called “protesters” would be commended by all in the community for their actions.
Let’s rally together to continue to show the Legislative Council what NSW really wants.