NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong Shares Her Abortion Story In A Powerful Call For Women’s Rights

jenny leong abortion speech

The debate over decriminalising abortion in New South Wales kicked off today, with a bunch of pollies taking the floor to have their say on whether women can be trusted to make their own choices about their own bodies.

It’s a heated issue on all sides, with many women calling for thorough decriminalisation of abortion, and preferably making it free to obtain as well.

One of those women is Greens MP Jenny Leong, who used her time on the floor to lay out some undeniable truths: namely, that if you don’t like abortions, don’t have one. Simple!

She also joined the many women sharing their own stories about terminating pregnancies, and recounted getting an abortion at age 20 while she was on a gap year in the UK. There, she said, it was free and easy to obtain.

While Leong went into more detail in an op-ed for SBS, you can watch part of her speech from parliament today below, in which she says:

I shared my story of the medical termination that I had when I was 20-years-old with the public health system in London when I was travelling, because I felt that it was important to join the voices of the people who feel the need to share their stories. To tell the stories, to say that these are choices we need to make.

I was one of the lucky ones. I was free to make the choices that were right for me.

Sadly, though, in the 100-year life of Part Three, Division 12 of the Crimes Act in NSW, the lives of so many other women have been adversely and very tragically impacted.

The ones who sought so-called backyard abortions and died of complications, the ones who experienced forced pregnancies and struggled in poverty to raise their children.

With every day, and every year, and every decade that has passed with these barriers in place, countless other women have had to recount their stories – to share their experiences, to reveal the details of their personal choices, to be able to add weight, and truth, and power and strength to the argument that when you criminalise our reproductive choices, you prevent us from accessing the healthcare that we need, and you cause us harm. You disrespect us, you treat us as second-class citizens, and you do not treat us as equals.

And we say to you that we have had enough.

Others following the debate live tweeted more of Leong’s speech, including this excellent and most quotable quote:

The sound of men arguing over our personal reproductive health choices hurts my ears, and it offends my very core. I have one simple message: if you don’t like abortions, don’t have an abortion.

The debate continued into the evening and will continue tomorrow, with dozens of politicians wanting their moment to have their say – according to the SMH, we might be waiting until Thursday until we get a vote on this historic bit of legislation.