By Nikki Ulasowski and Amanda Lawrence
CANBERRA— Following the charging of two Perth doctors and calls by feminists for the repeal of all abortion laws, ACT Pro-Choice has been formed in Canberra. The group hopes to build on the work of former pro-choice groups which successfully campaigned for a fertility clinic here, established in 1992.
Recent events in the ACT have highlighted the need for a pro-choice campaign. First, Wayne Berry, former Labor leader in the Legislative Assembly has prepared legislation to decriminalise abortion and is considering submitting it as a private member's bill.
More recently, an edition of the Australian National University student newspaper Woroni published a Right to Life-inspired article featuring graphic photos of aborted foetuses which has outraged many students.
On March 19, as part of a pro-choice awareness campaign, the ANU Women's Department organised a public "rip-out" of the pages concerned. ANU women's officer Kate Harriden told Green Left Weekly, "This year [Woroni] appears to be continuing the same type of inappropriate representations of women as last year." Last year, Woroni produced a front cover article titled "No Fat Chicks".
"Woroni is bound to the constitution of the ANU Students Association. This means it has to adopt a non-racist, non-sexist and non-homophobic stance", explained Harriden.
A letter of opposition to the anti-abortion article has been signed by more than 70 people. According to Woroni's policy, all letters received must be printed in the next edition.
ACT Pro-Choice is organising a speak-out in Civic at 12 noon on April 4, and a public meeting at 7pm on April 29. For more information or to get involved in the campaign telephone (02) 6247 2424.