The University of Sydney Wom*n’s Collective (WoCo) organised a snap action this afternoon, against LifeChoice Australia, a “pro-life” advocacy group who currently run a registered University of Sydney Union club on campus.
The action involved approximately 50 students expressing their opposition to a LifeChoice event on Eastern Avenue. The event purported to discuss “human rights” with students, as part of a broader anti-abortion stance. Protestors held a sign reading “everyone has a right to choose.”
Layla Mkh, co-convenor of WoCo told Honi, “LifeChoice with their 3D models of foetuses and their pictures of smiling babies continue to ignore this.”
LifeChoice was also joined by various students from American campuses, most of whom are part of “Students for Life”, an American pro-life organisation. A representative of the event commented on the protest saying “it was really sad because they never really came and talked to us so we never got a chance to share with them.”
However, protestors alleged that LifeChoice members laughed at and mocked members of WoCo. Mkh told Honi, “We can’t engage in dialogue with people who are laughing at our pain and distress. We especially can’t engage in dialogue with them with four cameras pointed us, waiting for us to lash out so they can report us.”
As recently as last year, pro-choice activists have been taken through the University’s misconduct system and criticised in the NSW Legislative Assembly for having protested LifeChoices.
Today’s action sees the continuation of protests against anti-abortion groups organised by the Women’s Collective over the years, which have challenged both LifeChoice and other “pro-life” organisations. The Collective is in the process of organising its annual protest against the “Day of the Unborn Child,” held by the Catholic Church to honour “unborn babies,” on 24 March.
Neither of the elected SRC Wom*n’s Officers, Gabi Stricker-Phelps and Crystal Xu, were seen at the protest. Honi reached out to both Stricker-Phelps and Xu for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
The Wom*n’s Officers are paid a $12,000 stipend and are expected to “act as an organiser for all women on campus” under the SRC’s Constitution.