Thousands of protesters marched through Sydney and other state capitals today calling for increased accessibility to abortions in Australia and condemning the decision in the US last week that overturned the landmark Roe v Wade judgment.

Despite heavy rain throughout the day in Sydney, an estimated 2,000 people gathered at Town Hall in raincoats and umbrellas, before marching on the US Consulate in Martin Place.

“We are here today because of the attack on reproductive rights by the conservative courts in the United States,” said speaker and education officer at the University of Sydney SRC, Lia Perkins.

“Abortion must be free, safe and accessible for all people as a fundamental part of reproductive justice.”

Protests around the world come after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade on June 24. The landmark case, which has been in place since 1973, permitted abortions during the first two trimesters of pregnancy in the United States.

High school student Emma Wyatt , 17, Holding a ‘Safe abortions save lives’ sign. Photo by Aston Brown.

The immediate impact of this ruling to overturn Roe v Wade is an end to the federal constitutional protection of abortion rights, allowing each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion.

As a result, an estimated 22 US states are expected to pass laws that restrict abortion, with 13 already having ‘trigger laws’ in place which involve total abortion bans, including in cases of rape and incest.


Protesters marched from Town Hall to the US consulate in Martin Place. Photo: Aston Brown.

Despite the ruling, The Pew Research Centre found that 61 per cent of US adults think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, a statistic that has remained relatively unchanged over the past few years.

“What kind of a democracy is it when a panel of nine people has more power than the two-thirds of people in America, which polls show support abortion rights?” asked speaker April Holcombe.

Chants such as, “They say no choice, we say pro choice,” “Back to the backyard, no way,” and, “When abortion rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back,” were heard throughout the streets of Sydney CBD.

Rallies across Australia, including in Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth, were also used as an opportunity to raise awareness on reproductive justice issues happening in this country, calling for more accessibility when it comes to abortions.

Organiser of the rally and social justice activist, Hersha Kadkol, told the crowd in Sydney: “This isn’t just about the US alone, this is an attack on all of our rights, because an attack on one is an attack on all.”

“We know that when you criminalise abortions, they don’t stop happening… they just stop being safe.”

Organiser and social justice activist Hersha Kadkol leading the march to the US Consulate in Sydney. Photo by Aston Brown.

“Obviously this is something happening in America but it impacts us and can have a domino effect. That’s why we are here today, to support and stand up for each other,” said 17-year-old rally participant Kayla Bruce.

“There is no justice and no peace because the courts constantly fail to give justice to those on the margins. It’s one thing to be accessible in law and another in reality. What’s the point of it being legal if you can’t afford it, you can’t reach it, you can’t find it, and you can’t take the time off work to get it,” said Holcombe.

Abortions have been fully decriminalised in Australia, with South Australia being the final jurisdiction to legalise abortion in 2021. However, accessibility to abortions, particularly for those who are from minority groups, remains an issue that was a focus at today’s rally.

Co-founder of Youth Against Sexual Violence, Dani Villafaña, said: “We fought for these rights for a long time, and now we must protect them.”

Rallies and protests are expected to continue in countries around the world in the coming weeks and months.

“We know that when you criminalise abortions, they don’t stop happening… they just stop being safe,” said Villafaña.

Photos by Aston Brown.