It should be really simple: the state keeps its hands off women’s bodies. Yet abortion is currently the subject of criminal law in all states and territories except the ACT.
Most recently, the New South Wales parliament is considering the backward and anti-choice “Zoe’s law”. Only a few years ago in Queensland a couple were criminally tried and acquitted of the illegal act of “procuring an abortion”.
What women do with our bodies is subject to multiple levels of government control and interference. As well as repressive laws and regulations, restrictions are put in place by individual medical gatekeepers, and financial hurdles are created that are too high for many to jump. When deemed necessary, the weight of religious moralism is drawn upon to reinforce women’s lack of choice and control.
Health services that are desperately needed and should be available to all women are often woefully inadequate or inaccessible. This includes access to maternity services, sexual health clinics, contraception and basic sexuality education. The sexual and reproductive health of transgender women, lesbians and bisexual women are often completely ignored.
The state deliberately seeks to control the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives.
We need to take a stand against any state involvement in controlling women’s bodies. Women and men taking to the streets together in protest sends a clear and powerful message that we are ready to take back control, to make our own decisions and to live our lives as we choose. The state can keep its hands off.