Counter-protest against anti-abortion 'March for the Babies'

Posted on Thursday, 13 October

On Saturday 8th October Victorian Socialists’ candidate for the Western Metropolitan region Liz Walsh led, alongside VS supporters and other activists, a successful counter-rally against the anti-abortion ‘March for the Babies’. In the state election this November Liz will attempt to unseat former Liberal, and now DLP MP Bernie Finn - the main figurehead of the anti-abortion movement in Victoria.

@vic_socialists From today's energetic counter rally against Bernie Finn's anti-abortion 'March for the Babies' that seeks to wind back our access to reproductive rights. #vicsocialists #socialism #leftist #abortion #prochoice #naarm #melbourne ♬ original sound - Victorian Socialists

The recent overturning of Roe v Wade in the US boosted the confidence of bigots around the world. Finn aims to capitalise on this. His stated goal in organising events like the ‘March for the Babies’ is “legal abortion overturned in our lifetime”. To prevent this, it’s not enough to rely on those in power to do the right thing. It’s crucial for the left to mobilise public opposition on the streets.

Saturday’s counter-rally saw over 300 people occupy the steps of the Victorian state parliament, forcing Bernie’s supporters to spew their sexist rhetoric elsewhere. “We’re here to let them know”, Liz said in her speech, “they are a marginal fringe position in our society and they will never succeed in taking away our rights”.

Liz Walsh speaks at the rally
Victorian Socialists candidate for Western Metro Liz Walsh speaks at the counter-protest (PHOTO: Alex Forbes)

Walsh argued that abortion is not a moral evil but a social good. Without free and easy access to abortion, poor and working-class women lose the ability to control their own lives. In order to promote women’s self-determination, we need a publicly funded, easily accessible reproductive healthcare system based on meeting human needs, not making profits.

“We’re here to say also we’re fighting for extending abortion rights, extended reproductive rights. We’re not happy with the state of our health care system. We need it to be fully funded and properly public.”

The crowd occupies the space outside parliament house

Saturday’s counter-rally was just the latest episode in Walsh’s ongoing fight to defend women’s rights against the far right. In July this year, while Bernie Finn and his supporters were celebrating the overturning of Roe v Wade, Liz called a rally of 15,000 people to show solidarity with all those affected by the ruling in the US.

Residents of Melbourne’s west deserve better than an arch-conservative MP like Finn, whose bigotry reflects neither the opinions of the vast majority of people, nor their interests. Victorian Socialists have made it our mission to ‘bin Finn’ and replace him with Liz Walsh, someone who will fight to defend the rights and improve the lives of ordinary people.