Howard's IVF discrimination opposed

Issue 

Howard's IVF discrimination opposed

BY LYDIA LEONARD

BRISBANE — More than 100 people rallied here on August 15 to oppose the federal government's plan to alter the federal anti-discrimination act to exclude lesbians and single mothers from access to IVF services. The rally was called by Griffith and Queensland university students and Queers against Corporate Exploitation (QuaC).

Aisha Damali from Women's House Shelta spoke of the role of the church and state in promoting homophobia. Student activist Matilda Alexander spoke of the "invisibility of lesbians" in the mainstream and gay media.

Protesters then marched through city streets chanting "Not the church, not the state, women will decide our fate" and "Reproductive rights today! Homophobia no way!".

The march concluded at King George Square where Lynda Hansen from the Committee in Solidarity with Latin America and the Caribbean told the crowd of recent deaths of indigenous women in Peru who had been subjected to unsanitary and hasty abortions and others who had been forced into sterilisation procedures.

QuaC activist Jo Ball said that lesbians, bisexual and transgenders should be organising for the September 11 demonstrations in Melbourne so that issues of discrimination are placed on the anti-corporate agenda.

Karen Fletcher from Prisoners' Legal Service and the Democratic Socialist Party urged a campaign against the federal government's watering down of welfare legislation. She added that Canberra's attacks on the Family Court were a direct attack on women's access to services and support.

Lisa Young from the International Women's Day collective encouraged women to sign up for the IWD collective meetings to carry the rally's demands on into next year and beyond.

The Brisbane Reclaim the Night collective has made womens' access to IVF one of its main demands.