Thousands across Australia demonstrate in solidarity with US after abortion access ruling

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.

A woman with pink hair holding a sign that says 'public cervix announcement'.
A woman’s play on words at the Melbourne protest.(ABC News: Margaret Paul)

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.”

A crowd of people advocating abortion access outside the State Library of Victoria.
A crowd of people advocating for abortion access outside the State Library of Victoria.(ABC News: Margaret Paul)

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.

a group of protesters hold signs and umbrellas at a pro-choice protest march in sydney
Protesters gathered in Sydney’s Town Square. (ABC News: Harriet Tatham)

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.

The crowd stands under a gloomy sky and rain with umbrellas.
Sydney protesters gathered at Town Square despite the wet weather.(ABC News: Harriet Tatham)

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.

A crowd of people protesting under bare deciduous trees and a blue sky.
Protesters gathered at Parliament Lawns in Hobart.(ABC News: Alexandra Humphries)

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.

Two women with a pink sign standing on a lawn.
Jess and Kathy Cepeniuk made their way to central Hobart for the protest.(ABC News: Alexandra Humphries)

“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.”

a woman in a black jacket speaks into a megaphone in front of protesters holding pro choice signs
Protesters made their voices heard in Sydney’s CBD. (ABC News: Harriet Tatham)

In Canberra, 400 protesters gathered at Garema Place to listen to speakers before marching down London Circuit.

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