More than 200 people rallied outside Queensland state parliament on July 21 to support the call for abortion law reform.
The rally was called by Labor deputy premier Jackie Trad. Earlier in the week, she and other Labor leaders had announced the endorsement by cabinet and caucus of the recommendations in the Queensland Law Reform Commission's report into modernising the state's abortion laws.
The legislation drafted by the QLRC removes the offence of having an abortion, and makes it legal for a doctor to perform an abortion at a patient's request up to 22 weeks of pregnancy, and in consultation with another doctor thereafter. It creates a new crime for anyone who is not a doctor to perform an abortion on another person. It also establishes 150m safe access zones outside abortion clinics.
United Voice member Hannah spoke about her decision to have an abortion last year and the two things that stood out: how often she was asked by the nurse whether she was sure about her decision and that her doctor's referral letter said that she was not emotionally or mentally able to cope with continuing the pregnancy — necessary to comply with the exceptions allowed in the current law, but demeaning all the same.
Rally chair Van Badham acknowledged the extra barriers to care faced by women with disability and incarcerated women. At that point I called out "it will be worse under Serco" referring to state government plans to establish a new privately run women's prison. Badham agreed and called on people to find out more about the issue.
To an enthusiastic crowd of mostly Labor supporters, Trad ridiculed the three male MPs who had voiced their opposition to the new legislation, and urged rally participants to keep up the campaign for the 87 days until victory. She neglected to mention that it is Labor's failure to bind its vote, that means passage of the majority government's bill is not assured and will likely depend on Greens and LNP members.
More photos from the action can be seen on the Green Left Facebook page.