Anti-Nile rally to defend abortion rights

Wednesday, September 4, 1991

Anti-Nile rally to defend abortion rights

By Rose McCann

SYDNEY — Under the slogan "Stop Nile's War on Women's Rights", a broad coalition of women's organisations here has set Saturday, September 7, as the date for its first action against the reactionary cleric's bill to outlaw abortions in privately run clinics and hospitals.

Fred Nile will introduce the bill, the Procurement of Miscarriage Limitation Bill, in the New South Wales Legislative Council on September 12. If it is passed, abortion services will be restricted to a small number of public hospitals, closing down the freestanding clinics that provide 80% of abortion services in the state.

The sponsors of the September 7 rally point out: "Such a law would lead to later, and therefore more dangerous, terminations because of inevitable delays caused by an already severely overtaxed and under-resourced public health system".

They also calculate that for the state to provide the services presently being offered by private clinics, another $45 million would need to be found for the health budget — not a safe bet in Greiner's cuts-crazy NSW.

While opinion polls consistently show a majority in favor of a woman's right to choose, this right has never been enshrined in law because of the squeamishness of Labor and Liberal politicians. Their spinelessness has opened the way for counterattacks by the likes of Nile.

Supporters of the anti-Nile fight include the Women's Abortion Action Campaign, the Abortion Rights Coalition, Everywoman's Health Centre, Bessie Smyth and the International Women's Day Collective.

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