Senator Amanda Stoker defends participation in Cherish Life Queensland anti-abortion rally

Australia’s Assistant Minister for Women has explained why she chose to participate in a controversial anti-abortion rally.

Amanda Stoker has defended her participation in an anti-abortion rally, saying her role as a women’s minister means she should support the 50 per cent of unborn babies who are girls.

Australia’s Assistant Minister for Women stirred controversy after she took part in the annual Cherish Life Queensland rally in Brisbane on Saturday.

LNP Senator Matt Canavan and One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts were also in attendance.

Senator Stoker on Thursday defended her involvement in the rally as being “entirely consistent with the duties of a minister for women”.

“They would take an interest in and provide a compassionate kind of support to people who face vulnerability in our community,” she told Sky News, which is available to stream on Flash.

“Now, that includes women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant, but it also includes the 50 per cent of children conceived who are women.”

She said policy decisions regarding abortion should “take into account the needs of everyone”.

“And it’s to my mind entirely consistent that all of those voices should be heard in the policy making space, particularly noting, of course, that this is a state issue,” she said.

Senator Stoker linked her “message of compassion” for women and unborn children to the Coalition‘s election campaign message that it is the superior economic manager.

“Particularly for women who find themselves in a difficult situation here in Australia,” she said.

“Is that in everything we do, our ability to provide compassionate support is dependent on a strong economy.”

Scott Morrison on Wednesday defended Senator Stoker‘s attendance at the rally, saying she had every right to go because “it’s a free country”.

The Prime Minister refused to answer the question of whether he agreed with her views on abortion, but said there would be no changes to the laws in Australia.

“I’m aware of the reports that are coming out of the United States, but that’s in a different country. In Australia there are no changes to those laws,” he said.

A leaked draft opinion from the US Supreme Court shows its justices are poised to repeal the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision that enshrined universal access to abortion.

If the decision is passed it would hand decision making power on the matter back to the individual states, with conservative jurisdictions expected to outlaw abortions or make them even more difficult to access.

Reports of the leak have inspired widespread passion and anger in the US as the decades-old pro-choice versus pro-life battle reignites.

As Senator Stoker and Mr Morrison noted, abortion is a state issue in Australia, where it has now been decriminalised in every jurisdiction following South Australia’s decision in 2021.

Originally published as Australia’s Assistant Minister for Women defends participation in anti-abortion rally

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