Drop the abortion charges: campaign gains momentum
By Kathy Newnam
On April 10-11, the first feminist conference to be held in Sydney in more than 10 years attracted more than 500 people. The “F” Conference was organised to re-ignite feminist organising in Sydney, though there were many participants from other cities also. There was a tangible enthusiasm and excitement evident throughout the conference — reflecting the gap that has arisen in the last decade between the support for feminism and the decline of grass-roots organising.
The sentiment for action was reflected in the strong support for the abortion rights campaign and particularly the campaign against the charges brought against a Cairns couple under Queensland’s anti-abortion laws. Two workshops about the campaign were organised as part of the conference by a national network of abortion activists comprising the Women’s Abortion Action Campaign (NSW), Pro-Choice Action Collective (Qld) and Radical Women (Vic).
The conference passed a motion in support of the campaign for free, safe, accessible abortion on demand and called for the immediate dropping of the charges against the Cairns couple, rejecting the Queensland government’s lies and distractions in relation to the case .
The conference also supported the upcoming protests as part of the campaign, including the National Day of Action on the Saturday before the Cairns case goes to trial; the convergence on Cairns being organised by the Pro-Choice Action Collective for the days the trial is held; and the national rally for abortion rights being held in Sydney on May 29.
The May 29 rally is being organised by the Women’s Abortion Action Campaign in response to the increasing anti-abortion attacks within Australia and internationally, and will mobilise support in defence of the Cairns couple. The rally will coincide with a conference of the “International Federation of Right to Life Associations” being held in Sydney on the same day. Contingents to the rally are being organised from Brisbane and Melbourne.