Last week, the US Supreme Court overturned a landmark legal case, Roe v Wade. It ruled there is no longer a constitutional right to abortion in the United States – reversing a law that was made almost 50 years ago to protect a pregnant person’s right to abortion.
Since that ruling, many people have taken to the streets in protest – from New York and Washington DC to Los Angeles and Seattle. But the anger and distress has been felt across the globe.
“The US Supreme Court decision is a historic attack on women’s rights which needs to be met with rage all across the globe,” says Liz Walsh, who is organising a rally in Melbourne on Saturday July 2 in support of those protesting in America.
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“Gilead is being instituted in the US before our eyes by a bunch of unelected bigots, and it’s terrifying,” she says. “Millions of women are being stripped of the right to control their own bodies, without which we don’t have a hope of winning equality.”
Walsh, who is a long-time activist and Victorian Socialists assistant secretary, says the Supreme Court’s decision “has global ramifications”.
“It will energise conservative and religious bigots everywhere who want to trash the gains women and LGBTQIA+ people have made in the 20th century. So our protest is also a message to all the sexist bigots in Australia that we will stop them if they ever tried something on here.
“While we may legally have the right to abortion in Australia, women face huge obstacles to accessing abortion services because it’s expensive and there are too few providers. It’s basically a postcode lottery. We will be raising the demand for free universal access to abortion on demand and without apology. We need to make medical and surgical abortions a bulk-billed procedure, we need to expand our community health and sexual and reproductive health hubs,” she says.
Melbourne’s protest is one of many taking place across the country this weekend. Here’s where to find them.
State Library Victoria at 12pm on Saturday July 2.
Sydney Town Hall at 1pm on Saturday July 2.
Beehive Corner, Rundle Mall at 5pm on Friday July 1.
King George Square at 5.45pm on Friday July 1.
Murray Street Mall at 1pm on Saturday July 2.
There are also events taking place in Newcastle, Canberra, Hobart and Wollongong.
Additional reporting by Annie Toller.