The Abortion Clinic Murder and the High Court drama that followed

CONTENT WARNING: This episode discusses pregnancy and abortion so listener discretion is advised if this is a subject that you may find distressing.

In this interview, we have used the term ‘women’ but we note that trans-men and gender diverse and non-binary people also experience pregnancy and abortion.

Show Notes Ep 219 of Australian True Crime with Meshel Laurie and Emily Webb:

On 16 July 2001 a disheveled man with murder on his mind arrived at the entrance of the Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne and shot dead security guard Steven Rogers.

What unfolded after the murder was a groundswell of action and years of legal wrangling to fight for abortion safe access zones that went all the way to Australia’s high court.

Our guests are Clinical psychologist Dr Susie Allanson and writer and lawyer Lizzie O’Shea.

Susie was working at the clinic that day of the murder as she did every day in her role as a clinical psychologist, counseling people about their reproductive options, including accessing abortions. 

Susie would often arrive at work at dawn to avoid the onslaught of protesters who’d congregate outside the clinic each day harassing those who were entering and over the years she and the other clinic staff had numerous threats against their personal safety.

Lizzie represented Fertility Control Clinic in the Supreme Court case to stop the harassment of staff and patients outside abortion clinics.

They’ve detailed how one man's murder changed the future of women’s rights in their book Empowering Women: From Murder & Misogyny to High Court Victory (Wilkinson Publishing).

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