Reply to Baker

The above letter from Brisbane Socialist Alliance member Adam Baker is an affront to a woman’s right to struggle for abortion rights. Baker fails to comprehend the significance of the seriousness of the attacks on women’s rights. In fact, he falls even deeper into a confused conservative abyss suggesting that blockades or picket lines have no place in the struggle.

The Brisbane Pro-Choice Abortion Collective (PCAC) has organised rallies for two years now in response to the annual anti-abortion “March for Little Feet”. This is not a march of children; this is a march of the anti-abortion, anti-women lobby. It is led by Graham Preston, leader of “Protect Life”, a group that actively blockades the abortion clinics across Brisbane, with the aim of physically preventing women from accessing abortion.

The “Protect Life” group’s anti-woman fundamentalism demonstrates the role that the anti-abortion lobby plays in providing anti-woman shock troops for the capitalist system — a system which requires women to continue to play their socially dictated role in the family system by doing the unpaid labour that is so essential to the rearing and maintenance of capitalism’s wage-slaves. Moreover, women’s subjugation within the family system plays a crucial socialising role by defining women first and foremost as wives and mothers. The “March for Little Feet” is held on Mothers’ Day each year and puts forward the idea that women are not supposed to want for anything other than motherhood. The legal right to abortion challenges this ideological prison.

On May 9, the anti-choice “March for Little Feet” commenced outside an abortion clinic in Bowen Hills. The anti-choice marchers then stopped outside other Brisbane abortion clinics (to present the usual lies, pseudo-science and the guilt trip about abortion) with the aim of finishing in the city at the state parliament.

While the “March for Little Feet” was underway, 80 pro-choice supporters gathered at state parliament. A proposal was made to the rally from the organisers to blockade the “March for Little Feet” from reaching its final destination. The rally allowed for a 30 minute open-mike platform for speakers to discuss the motion. There were no speakers against the motion. When it became evident that the protest action had deterred the “March for Little Feet” from reaching its final destination, the pro-choice protesters decided (after an open platform and vote) to end our rally with a march to the nearby park. PCAC held an organising meeting after the march which was attended by 30 people discussing the effectiveness of the action, deciding to continue with this annual action, planned further organising meetings and finalised plans for the next action in response to the abortion charges brought against a 19-year-old woman in Queensland.

Members of Socialist Alliance did not participate in any of these discussions. During the blockade action they verbally harassed organisers of the rally. They tried to convince others to leave the blockade line. They went so far as to decry the blockade because in their words the “March for Little Feet” was “just women and children”. It would seem that the SA members don’t believe that there is any power in a march of women! It is no wonder then that they demonstrated their antagonism toward the action, an action that was proposed and led by women!

There were a number of women in the “March for Little Feet”, reflecting the small number of women who are opposed to abortion rights. Nobody denies them their right to hold their views but supporters of abortion rights will continue to fight to ensure that they can no longer impose their views, via the law, on the great majority of women. All supporters of abortion rights must fight to expose the real agenda of the anti-abortion movement. The actions of Socialist Alliance members at the counter-demonstration, and Baker’s subsequent defence of their actions, indicates that they have little comprehension of this task, nor any willingness to support the abortion rights movement in its actions and decisions. His claim that RSP members advocated “physically beating down” anti-abortionists is just factionally motivated slander.

Kim Comerford,
Brisbane PCAC and RSP member