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Our Health, Our Rights, Our Lives! Women say NO to the Religious Discrimination Bill

Women’s and gender equity organisations across Victoria have joined forces today to oppose the Religious Discrimination Bill on the grounds that it risks women’s health and safety.

Our Health, Our Rights, Our Lives! Women say NO to the Religious Discrimination Bill Campaign will launch today at 2pm outside the Fertility Control Clinic in Melbourne. The campaign builds on submissions and recommendations made to a parliamentary inquiry into the Bill by Women’s Health Victoria.

“The Bill, if passed, would harm women, delay access to services and increase stigma against women who seek to assert their reproductive rights. This would have serious implications on women’s sexual and reproductive health, impacting women’s access to contraception and abortion, creating unacceptable public health outcomes for women.” Says Dianne Hill, CEO of Women’s Health Victoria.

“There are a small group of politicians in Australia who want to play God with women’s health – who see political advantage in stirring up a totally unnecessary debate about a law that puts religion ahead of women’s health and safety. GEN VIC stands against any law that will take away freedom and services from Australian women,” says Tanja Kovac, CEO of GEN VIC.

 

Launch of the Our Health, Our Rights, Our Lives! Campaign

Wednesday 12 February

2pm, Fertility Control Clinic, East Melbourne

 

23 organisations have joined the Our Health, Our Rights Our Lives! Campaign, they have said:

  • “This bill is an abuse of power; we believe it not only has the potential to narrow or prevent exercise of our rights to make decisions about our bodies but it enshrines a right to mistreat and discriminate against women seeking to do so.” – Jo Porter, Queen Victoria Women’s Centre.
  • “We mustn’t stand by, it is vital that women claim their voice on this Bill” Mary Crooks, CEO, Victorian Women’s Trust
  • “This Bill poses serious risks to women’s reproductive rights and undermines efforts to build a gender equitable Australia.” – Joanna Fletcher, CEO, Women’s Legal Service Victoria
  • “The right to reproductive freedom and health care should be available to all. WIRE says No to Religious Discrimination Bill,” Julie Kun, CEO, Women’s Information Referral Exchange

More quotes available below and at the GEN VIC website www.genvic.org.au

MEDIA ENQUIRIES.  Jacinta Masters; GEN VIC Manager; Ph. 9418 0921; Mob 0427 383 982; genvic@genvic.org.au

“After years of collaborative campaigning to increase women’s access to information, choice and services we are not prepared to go backwards. Let’s uphold the rights of all women to options about their own bodies – including women with disabilities.” – Nadia Mattiazzo, Acting CEO, Women with Disabilities Victoria

“Rural women are being left behind. Location and gender inequality already limits our ability to freely make fundamental decisions about our sexual and reproductive health. We don’t need another barrier. Rural women say No to the Religious Discrimination Bill” – Emma Mahoney, CEO, Women’s Health and Wellbeing Barwon South West

“So much work has gone into creating equity and equality for all in our community. We cannot go backwards on the human rights of women and this bill harms women and winds back their rights. The protections for those of faith are already available in Australia through existing law. Let’s not go back in time and prevent women from accessing the health and human services that they need to have healthy fulfilling and equitable lives” – Kit McMahon, CEO, Women’s Health in the South East

“As a nurse I know that there already exists ways that doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists can exercise their conscientious objection and not provide particular medical services. This Bill dangerously changes that. It puts the religious views of doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists above the woman’s right to services arising from her own informed decisions about her own body.” – Marilyn Beaumont OAM, National Board Chairperson, AWHN

“Women’s Health East says NO to a bill that does not respect women’s right to bodily autonomy and that disproportionately affects women already facing barriers to safe and equitable healthcare”- Kristine Olaris, CEO, Women’s Health East

“MCWH supports everyone’s right to practice their faith, but that right should not endanger people’s right to health or bodily autonomy”- Adele Murdolo, CEO, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health

“West CASA supports all people’s rights to be empowered to make choices about their own bodies and to not be shamed for who they are or their choices. We are concerned that this bill seriously restricts the ability of women and the LGBTQI community to have choice particularly in regional areas were there are less services and long distances to access alternative services.” – Robyn McIvor, CEO, WestCASA

“This Bill will remove protections against discrimination for women, LGBTIQ people and other marginalised groups when discriminatory statements are made on the basis of religion, which is why CASA Forum says NO to the Religious Discrimination Bill.” – CASA Forum

“All human rights must be equal. We can’t support the introduction of a hierarchy of human rights where some rights trump the rights of others.” Women’s Legal Service Tasmania

Her body, her choice- women have the right to a system that supports body autonomy.” – Fiona Owen, CEO, Gippsland Women’s Health

The Inner East PCP stands with our partners in support of action to uphold women’s rights to good health and wellbeing.” – Inner East PCP

“WHGNE says NO to the religious discrimination bill.” – Amanda Kelly, CEO, Women’s Health Goulburn North East