Thousands Of Queenslanders Marched For Abortion To Remain A Crime
They walked through Brisbane's CBD chanting "life, life, life".
Thousands of Queenslanders marched through Brisbane's CBD on Saturday to protest the state government's plan to decriminalise abortion.
The Australian Christian Lobby's Queensland director Wendy Francis said it was biggest anti-abortion rally the state had ever seen.
"This is a personal crusade for [deputy premier Jackie Trad] and she is not in tune with what Queenslanders want," Francis told BuzzFeed News.
"They have shown this by turning out by the thousands."
Francis said the proposed legislation provided "no protection for women against coercion" and "removed full rights for conscientious objection from medical practitioners".
The legislation, which has been referred to a parliamentary committee and will come back to the state's parliament in October for a debate and vote, rules that doctors who conscientiously object to abortion must refer a patient to a medical practitioner who will perform the procedure.
It would also create exclusion zones of 150 metres around clinics to protect patients from harassment and intimidation.
Attendees at the rally marched down the street chanting "life, life, life".
Many of their signs claimed the legislation would allow abortion ''up until birth'' and that it would encourage sex-selection abortion.
Under the proposed changes, abortion would be legal up to 22 weeks, after which approval would be needed by two doctors.
Federal resources minister Matt Canavan became the latest federal politician to weigh into debate about this state legislation by speaking at the rally, where he said the bill was a "radical and extreme change to our laws".
"Make no mistake, this bill would allow the unrestricted abortion of human life right up to birth," Canavan told those gathered.
"Queensland would join one of only seven countries in the world that allows such a practice. We would join a very exclusive club.”
Trad, who has spearheaded her government's plans to decriminalise abortion, told BuzzFeed News last month that "lies peddled by the anti-choice lobby" were "damaging, upsetting and fundamentally insulting" to women in the state.
"Quite frankly, it is disgraceful that extremists within the LNP are using women’s traumatic experiences for their own political grandstanding," Trad said.
Abortion is currently still illegal in Queensland under the state's Criminal Code and a termination only becomes lawful if it is to "prevent serious danger to the woman's physical or mental health".
In February last year independent Cairns MP Rob Pyne withdrew bills to decriminalise abortion in Queensland a day before they were due to be debated in parliament, after then Liberal National Party opposition leader Tim Nicholls vowed that “every single member” of his party would vote down the legislation.