My name is Rebecca, I’m a sidewalk counsellor and this is my story.
One morning we were outside the clinic at Westmead. There was a relatively positive response from people: many were gladly accepting our pamphlets and two or three people stopped and offered words of support and encouragement, thanking us for being there for the women going in and out of that clinic.
One particular lady was standing on the street with a suitcase, waiting patiently for what I assumed was a bus or a taxi. After about half an hour of her standing there I approached her and asked if she needed some help with public transport to which she aggressively responded:
“No, I don’t need your help. I think you are a disgusting human. What you’re doing is absolutely foul. I think abortion is great for a woman. You are f***ing disgusting – get away from me.”
Just for offering to help that lady, I was verbally abused, because she had seen me outside the clinic offering women support and wishing people a “happy Friday.” If that’s the way someone reacts without me even mentioning anything about the abortion clinic, can you imagine the sorts of abuse I cop from others who call themselves ‘pro-choice’? Can you see why sidewalk counsellors are being demonised by the Sharpe Bill?
We are there to help and support women, and that’s all I want to be allowed to do.