Thousands have rallied across Australia in a show of solidarity with abortion rights protesters in the US following the overturning of Roe v Wade.
As well as responding to the limiting of abortion access in the US, the gatherings across cities including Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart were organized to draw attention to how expensive and difficult abortions can be within Australia.
More than 3,000 people demonstrated outside the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne’s CBD.
Claudia Schiavello said she came along “to protect women’s rights”.
“It’s really important for women to have the right to health care,” she said.
“The US Supreme Court can’t take people with uteruses’ rights away because of religion, because of anything else.”
Her friend, Hannah Linke, said she was concerned to see politicians in Australia celebrating Roe v Wade being overturned.
She described the turnout at the Melbourne protest as “absolutely amazing”.
In Sydney, protesters braved the wet weather to meet at Town Square and heard from speakers including NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong.
While official numbers are yet to be confirmed, anecdotal estimates from organizations and security suggest thousands of protesters were in attendance.
That number would likely have been much higher had the city not been pelted with pouring rain.
Amy Behringer drove five hours from Port Macquarie to attend the event.
She said it was vital to ensure women could access safe and legal abortions.
People streamed into Hobart’s Parliament Lawns to express their anger on Saturday morning, many waving hand-drawn signs.
Tasmania is no stranger to abortion protests and speakers pointed out that rights in the state have been hard-won.
The state’s only abortion clinic closed almost five years ago but terminations are available in state-run surgical hospitals.
Kathy and Jess Cepeniuk were among those in attendance.
“It’s really upsetting that we’ve come so far — not far enough, but we’ve come so far — in human rights and women’s rights, and the fact people are now trying to back-pedal and take rights away from us,” Jess said.
“We need to show solidarity, we need to stand together, and show that we’re not going to stand for this, we’re not going to let this happen, we’re going to fight back.”
In Canberra, 400 protesters gathered at Garema Place to listen to speakers before marching down London Circuit.
“Why should someone get to choose what’s right for my body?” one participant left.
“I am really, really scared that [the US ruling] is going to come here in Australia,” her friend said.
“So much so that I don’t want to fall pregnant.”
In Adelaide, protesters made their mark with a march down Rundle Mall and King William Street on Friday evening.
A Saturday anti-abortion event that South Australian Opposition Leader David Speirs planned to attend before withdrawing had to change to a secret location after allegedly receiving violent threats.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at Forrest Place in Perth.
Speakers said they were showing solidarity with women in The US.
They also sought to highlight access issues in Australia, particularly in the regions.
They called for a change to the situation in WA, where women seeking an abortion after 20 weeks are required to go before a panel of six medical practitioners.
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