There is more impetus than ever for the Left to be vocal about the right of women to bodily autonomy, writes Sarah Christie.
Abortion law reform has always been a contentious and hotly debated political issue in Victoria. Unfortunately, this statement is still as true today as it ever was. Conservative politicians, religious organisations and bigoted individuals without uteruses continue to view abortions as a procedure that should be criminalised, abolished and banished from society. These people, some of whom are currently elected representatives in the Victorian Parliament, stand between the freedom of choice of all women to decide what happens to their bodies and when. Whilst this is a fight many thought was won back in 2008, it appears that the right to choice is not over yet.
In 2008 the Brumby Labor government (alongside members of the Greens and some Coalition politicians) passed the Abortion Law Reform Act (2008), which decriminalised the act of having an abortion. No longer were women who sought out the procedure faced with the prospect of being a criminal or having to get doctor’s approval and argue their ‘psychological circumstances’ warranted the procedure. Women, for the first time, could choose to have an abortion simply because it was their choice. It was a momentous reform that had been fought for every inch of the way.
Fast-forward to 2014 and, disappointingly, whispers of winding back the clock are afoot.Read More