Abortion law reform discussed at Byron Bay
LAST night a group of locals and experts gathered at Byron Bay to discuss abortion law reform.
Greens MP and Spokesperson for Status of Women, Mehreen Faruqi held the community forum with the Byron Greens at Byron Bay as part of her #End12 Campaign to decriminalise abortion and enact exclusion zones to protect people seeking abortion from harassment and intimidation outside fertility control clinics.
Dr Faruqi was joined by local health experts, including Public Liaison Officer - Children by Choice, Kate Mash; local health professional and feminist activist, Dr Kierrynn Davis; and community nurse, Andrea Brooks, with the event facilitated by the Greens MP for Ballina, Tamara Smith.
Dr Faruqi is undertaking community consultation around the state before introducing her abortion law reform bill into NSW Parliament.
"Thanks so much to the Northern Rivers community for hosting this vital community forum and for continuing the conversation that NSW Parliament has been avoiding for more than one hundred years," Dr Faruqi said.
"The #End12 campaign is about removing division 12 and sections 82-84 from of the Crimes Act which criminalises abortion as well as enacting exclusion zones around fertility clinics.
"It is about removing the doubt and uncertainty that hangs over abortion in this state and bring us in line with places like Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT.
"That is why I have given notice of a bill to that effect and am travelling around the state talking to communities.
"Recent polling shows that decriminalising abortion and enacting exclusion zones to protect women seeking an abortion from harassment and intimidation outside fertility control clinics are overwhelmingly supported by people from regional NSW, in fact more so than those living in Sydney.
"As I travel the state, from Albury to Byron Bay, communities are shocked that abortion is still in the Crimes Act and are demanding change.
"I encourage everyone to help us lift the stigma and the silence around abortions and join the #end12 campaign at www.end12.org.au"
Ms Marsh, Public Liaison Officer with Children by Choice said criminalising abortion was "completely out of step" with community expectation and clinical practice.
"Our abortion laws are so old; they are from before there were pregnancy tests!" Ms Marsh said.
Dr Davis, local health professional and feminist activist said women's reproductive rights were human rights.
"Women have a right to autonomy, equality & dignity through the decriminalisation of abortion," she said.
Ms Brooks, from Lismore Women's Health and Resource Centre said: "Women ought to be supported in their right to access abortions without any legal consequences for themselves or their practitioners"