By Riana Horner
A crowd supporting Women’s Right to Choose held up pro-abortion signs and banners this morning, backing a private members bill to legalise abortion in Queensland.
The group of passionate supporters rallied outside Parliament House to show their encouragement, chanting ‘it’s not 1899, abortion should not be a crime’.
“We are women, we are not incubators,” said QUT student, Colette Taylor-Davis.
“It’s our bodies, our choice,” she added.
Independent MP, Rob Pyne, presented the bill to Parliament today, which would allow women up to nine months’ pregnant to lawfully abort their unborn child.
Rally organisers, Ms Kate Evelyn Marchesi and Ms Olivia King, only started the Pro Choice Queensland petition six days ago.
Ms Marchesi said they were overwhelmed with the positive response they received in such a short period of time.
“Originally five people were supposed to gather here just to pat Rob on the back and say ‘good job, we are here to support you’,” Ms Marchesi said.
Ms King agreed, stating they are very happy with the rally’s results.
“We started to invite our friends and that grew from five to 20, and next thing we know there’s 2000 people interested in the event,” Ms King said.
Mr Pyne’s bill appeals for abortion to be completely removed from the criminal code.
Sections 224-226 of the Criminal Code, 1899 currently prosecute women and their doctors for abortion in Queensland, even making them liable to imprisonment.
Mr Pyne said he was very grateful for the people behind the Pro Choice Queensland campaign.
“I am here standing on the shoulders of many women who have campaigned long and hard on this issue over Queensland for many years,” Mr Pyne said.
“Let me just say how important it is for all of you to contact your local MP, at the end of the day that is what will drive change in this area,” he added.
A protestor stood waving an ‘everyone has the right to life’ sign along with a graphic image showing a suction abortion of a 10-week-old fetus.
“This is the reality everybody,” he said.
Women’s Right to Choose advocates challenged the protestor shouting “no uterus, no say.”
The man quickly responded with “every child has a father.”
Australian Greens Senator for Queensland, Larissa Waters, said it was entirely ridiculous we have laws from 1899 that tell us what we can or cannot do with our bodies in 2016.
“I think we are doing our level best here to ignore the detractors, and of course they are always old white men, lets be honest,” she said, which caused the crowd to applause.
Mr Pyne said he accepted a majority of MPs might not support the bill but he hoped it would start a serious debate on the issue.
“The bill that I am tabling is a straight decriminalisation bill,” Mr Pyne said.
“I would like to congratulate the Australian Labor Party on giving their members a conscience vote on this issue and encourage the LNP to give their members a conscience vote on this issue as well.
“That is very important in getting law reform in this area,” he added.