On October 12 a counter rally took place in opposition to the annual anti-choice ‘March for the Babies’. This was attended by hundreds of people from a vast range of groups: feminists, socialists, first time protesters, unaligned progressives and other concerned people who would prefer Abbott keep his hands off their bodily autonomy.
A new bill (dubbed ‘Zoe’s law’) which aims to define a foetus of 20 weeks gestation or more as a “living person” is currently being debated in NSW Parliament, so the demonstration couldn’t have come at a better time.
Unsurprisingly, right-wing media coverage of the protest has misrepresented pro-choice activists as ‘barbarians’ (I’m pointing at you, Andrew Bolt!), committing all manner of unspeakable ‘savagery’ such as wearing ‘profane’ T-shirts and ‘destroying balloons’. The horror! Channel 9 falsely reported that Liberal MP and March for the Babies organizer Bernie Finn was ‘assaulted’, when in reality he was simply on the receiving end of a harmless, wayward egg.
Quite frankly, Chief Fucktrumpet Bernie Finn deserved to get egg in his hair.
Anti-choice marchers were certainly not protesting ‘peacefully’. In fact, the very premise of ‘March for the Babies’ is not a peaceful one; it entails an attack on our right to make our own choices about what we does with our bodies, it shames those who make the innately personal choice to end a pregnancy, and it harks back to the disgusting and archaic idea that a woman’s sole purpose is to produce and nurture children in a life of domesticity. This was by no means a peaceful espousal of a ‘different point of view’; this was blatantly a parade of anti-woman bigotry, complete with rosaries and rubber fetuses.
Pro-choice activists were both verbally and physically abused by the anti-choice side. Pro-choice activists were labelled as ‘whores’ and ‘harpies’, and told that we were murderous ‘baby killers’ and that we are ‘going to hell’. We were told that our bodies were not our own, and strange rubber embryos were shoved in our faces in what we can only assume was a pathetic attempt to shame us for believing that we can decide our own fate. Several people involved in the rally and confrontation were physically hit by anti-choice marchers, including one of the writers of this article being punched in the face by a man in a cowboy hat. This demonstrated that not only do these people want to prioritise a bunch of cells over living people with free will, they were actively engaging in violence against women, as a number of us experienced at the rally.
The pro-choice side was led by a diverse range of people standing up for the rights of uterus-bearers, but it was fantastic to see women’s voices take centre-stage.
Comparatively, the anti-choice demographic was composed overwhelmingly of white, middle-aged, middle-class men.
This largely privileged bunch should have no authority over what reproductive choices we make, especially with regards to an issue that effects working class individuals the most, and people from rural and remote areas with lessened access to abortion both financially and geographically. Anti-choice bigots have no respect for agency and the ability for us to determine if, when and under what circumstances we shall raise children.
Shame on Andrew Bolt and the Herald Scum. Shame on Channel 9 and their predictable, biased media coverage. Most of all, shame on anti-choice bigots calling themselves ‘pro-life’ when they are clearly only concerned with birth, not quality of life, or human rights and bodily autonomy.
Anti-choice troglodytes have recently been emboldened by the election of the most outwardly anti-choice Prime Minister in living memory. Over the next few months and years, those of us who support women’s rights must continue to come together and fight to protect the rights that our feminist forerunners won for us decades ago. We must continue to fight against legislation like ‘Zoe’s law’.