NSW Crimes Act

The following is a slightly abridged speech given by Jessika Faithfull to a pro-choice protest on March 18 called by the University of Sydney Women’s Collective.

The protest outside St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney was called to counter the annual anti-abortion “Walk for Little Feet” rally. A large contingent of NSW Police unsuccessfully tried to shut the pro-choice protest down.

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As women and their allies around the world prepare to strike, rally and march on International Women’s Day, abortion rights are once again on the agenda in many countries.

The August 14 publication of a NSW local court ruling earlier in the year has again shone light on the state’s anti-abortion laws.

A 30-year-old woman was found guilty of attempting abortion and sentenced to a 3-year good behaviour bond. The court record describes the circumstances, but leaves important questions unanswered.

Women have again been let down by the majority of MPs in the NSW Legislative Council who voted down a Greens’ bill to decriminalise abortion on May 11.

The vote was 25 against and 14 in favour of Dr Mehreen Faruqi’s private members’ bill and it was greeted with cries of "shame" from the packed public gallery.

The decades’ long campaign to take abortion out of the NSW Crimes Act is coming to a head. A Greens bill to do this and enact safe zones around abortion clinics will go to the NSW Parliament on May 11.

I was asked to speak today about my perspective on abortion law reform in NSW as a medical student.

I realised that my perspective on this — even though it’s fairly well informed — actually can’t be separated at all from my perspective as a young woman in NSW, especially a young woman who, dare I say it, has sex.

Greens MLC and spokesperson for women Mehreen Faruqi launched her bill to remove abortion from the NSW Crimes Act on September 28, International Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. Faruqi said that there needed to be a campaign to “bust the myths surrounding abortion”.

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