Stop Melbourne City Council's harassment of abortion clinic defenders!

A battle for reproductive rights is building in Victoria, where abortion was decriminalised two years ago. A tiny anti-abortion movement is working to overturn the legal reform. And woman-hating fanatics continue to target the Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne, which Radical Women and other grassroots pro-choice activists have defended for the past five years.

The clinic defenders stand outside the clinic entrance, forcing the zealots to the other side of the street so that women can use the clinic or just walk by without being set upon and stalked. The colourful pro-choice banner, "Free abortion on demand, Now!" and lively chants always elicit support from passers by. Some stop to join in.

However in March 2010, Melbourne City Council — the local government authority for the area — began hassling the clinic defenders with its bylaws. First it threatened to confiscate the sound system. Recently it issued a compliance notice for holding up the banner — an offence that carries fines of up to $1,250.

The Council's harassment is aimed squarely at the rights to free speech, to protest and to organise in the streets for abortion rights. Radical Women has joined with other pro-choice fighters to challenge the Council and defend these fundamental civil liberties.

Please sign a statement click here for statement that calls on the Council to withdraw the compliance notice, end its harassment and adhere to its obligation to uphold the rights of protest and free speech under Victoria's Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

If you are near Melbourne, come to a rally on Tuesday, December 21 at Melbourne Town Hall. For information, click here. Tell Melbourne City Councillors that the community will not tolerate this violation of our rights.

To get involved, stay in touch or donate toward the campaign costs, please contact Melbourne Radical Women: radicalwomen@optusnet.com.au or 03-9388-0062.