The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.61/No.28           August 25, 1997 
New Zealand: Protest Answers Rightist Group  

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand -Over 40 supporters of the rights of women and gays and lesbians picketed the opening night of a Family Life International conference here July 18. Family Life International and its U.S. parent organization, Human Life International, campaign against women's access to legal abortion and contraception, the provision of sex education in schools, and the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

An advertisement placed in the Christchurch Press by this organization several days prior to the conference described sex education in schools as "a form of psychological rape." At the conference itself, one of the featured speakers was a so-called "abortion survivor."

As conference participants arrived, they were met by the picketers chanting, "Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate" and "Pro-life, your life's a lie, you don't care if women die."

Many of the protesters were young, including a group of students from the University of Canterbury.

Ellen Murray, a representative of Women's Education Coalition, Aotearoa, one of the groups which helped to organize the protest, explained in a press release, "The delegates to this conference will be discussing how to reverse the gains women have made in the last few decades, including their right of access to safe, legal abortion... We are organizing this picket to tell Family Life International that we will resist attempts to roll back our hard-won rights."

Ruth Gray is a member of the Engineers Union, in Christchurch.  
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