“Abortion saved my life,” she said. “I was in an abusive relationship, and if I was trapped with that man, I don’t know if I’d still been here.”
Chanting “my body, my choice”, the protesters gathered in front of the State Library before marching along Swanston, Bourke and Elizabeth streets.
Among them was Katie, 25, who had an abortion when she was 18. She said the decision to terminate her pregnancy wasn’t easy, but it helped her fulfill her own potential.
“The contraception I was taking failed. It happens, and I wasn’t ready to be a Mum.”
“It was not an easy decision, and it’s not one that I made lightly, but I don’t regret that. It allowed me to finish my school, I got to go to university because I had an abortion.”
Anti-vaccine protesters converged on the rally as it made its way through the CBD. The anti-vax movement co-opted the slogan “my body, my choice” during the pandemic.
Pro-choice rallies were also held in other Australian cities on Saturday, following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade – a 1973 case ruling that for the past 49 years has ensured women in America had a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.
Shouting passionately in the crowd was Natasha Sangiah, who had an abortion because she did not want a baby at that stage in her life.
“It shouldn’t just be in extreme situations. It should be an everyday decision that we should be able to make,” she said.
Sangiah said she was scared of the global ramifications of the ruling by the US Supreme Court, as speakers at Melbourne’s rally warned the crowd that Australian anti-abortion advocates had been inspired by the news and hoped to overturn abortion rights here.
“We need to be vigilant,” Victorian Socialists assistant secretary Liz Walsh said.
“We have to be on the front foot and show them that if they try anything, we will stop them.”
Western Australian Greens Senator Dorinda Cox said abortion still was not decriminalized in her state and that it should be free, legal and accessible for all Australians.
“It is our bodies and our goddamn choice,” she said.
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