Your View: White Ribbon response

REGARDING White Ribbon Day (YPCT Your View 21-11) the board of White Ribbon Australia authorised the publication of White Ribbon’s position statement in relation to women’s reproductive and sexual health on February 23. This was in the context of moves being made in New South Wales and Queensland to decriminalise abortion which, provided legal requirements and protections are observed, is not a crime in the other six Australian jurisdictions.

In light of recent comments about White Ribbon’s statement, it is considered appropriate to state White Ribbon’s position.

White Ribbon Australia supports the autonomy of women to make their own choices about their basic right to healthcare, including contraception and abortion. We support the decriminalisation of abortion, consistent access to safe and legal abortion, and support for women throughout the process and afterwards. This is one way to address reproductive coercion, which is an aspect of men’s violence against women White Ribbon seeks to prevent.

White Ribbon is not advocating for unlimited abortion to birth, the active killing of vulnerable babies, full-term abortion or the systematic killing of children in the womb. The words “safe and legal” abortion are in the statement. We recognise it is possible to create a regime that appropriately regulates access to such a procedure and provides necessary protections for all concerned, as has been done in the other Australian jurisdictions.

White Ribbon Australia endorses its previous statement. It regrets this is considered unacceptable by some of its supporters. It thanks them for their support of White Ribbon’s core work and urges them to reconsider their position in the light of this further explication of our approach.

Nicholas Cowdery AM QC Chairperson, White Ribbon Australia

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