Potential volatility was averted at Macquarie University on Wednesday when the Catholic chaplaincy invited pro-choice protesters, who had been prevented from directly picketing its pro-life talk in the central courtyard, to come, listen, and ask questions instead.
More than 110 protesters turned-out to picket the talk given by the Life, Marriage and Family Centre’s Fennelle McLaurin on recent undercover videos purporting to expose the attitudes and procedures of US abortion provider Planned Parenthood.
The event was one of three public talks organised by the Catholic Society for Life Week, one of its annual fixtures.
Police advised protesters amassing around 50 metres away from the Catholic society’s marquee, that they were to move no closer during the course of the event.
Initial chanting calling for abortion rights eventually subsided as protesters came to sit or stand in the audience, some silently holding signs advocating abortion rights.
All bar three of the post-talk Q&A questions came from protesters, some of whom also made lengthy comments asserting their views, with relatively little hectoring taking place on either side.
Full report in The Catholic Weekly next week.