On March 29, pro-choice protestors gave Melbourne City Council (MCC) a clear message: don’t mess with our free speech rights! Councillor Cathy Oke tabled a bulky tome — nearly 600 statements signed by individuals and organisations, telling the council to uphold the right to protest and stop using local laws against pro-choicers defending the Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne against anti-abortion harassment. From the public gallery, placards demanding “Make Melbourne a free speech city!” underscored the message.
When the Victorian Parliament decriminalised abortion two years ago, the battle was finally over, right? Then why is the Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne still targeted by anti-abortion zealots? And why, after five years, has Melbourne City Council started harassing clinic defenders, potentially handing a victory to those same zealots?
As Victoria’s parliamentary debate on abortion decriminalisation nears, pro-choice activists are stepping up their clinic defence against anti-abortion zealots. On the fourth Saturday of every month, pro-choice activists stand outside Melbourne’s Fertility Control Clinic to keep anti-abortionists on the other side of the street.