'Put The Fetus In The Bin' Chant Never Happened, Protesters Say
Pro-choice advocates have slammed "lies being propagated" after anti-choice campaigners released a video claiming they chanted "put the fetus in the bin" at a rally in Sydney on Saturday.
As multiple videos show, and as eyewitnesses confirm, the chant was actually "put the bigots in the bin" -- but that hasn't stopped the video, shared by an anti-choice group, going viral on social media, with more than 110,000 views in two days.
The claim has also been repeated in mainstream news reports, and by former deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce -- which has left pro-choice campaigners "outraged" at the "bad faith" used by their opponents.
Pro- and anti-choice advocates came face-to-face on the streets of Sydney on Saturday, ahead of the controversial NSW parliament bill to decriminalise abortion coming back up for debate this week.
Joyce and former PM Tony Abbott were among those to address a large anti-choice rally in Hyde Park, but pro-choice protesters held a counter-demonstration not far away. Footage of placard-waving protesters was captured just across the street from the anti-choice rally.
One of the phrases chanted was "we will fight, we will win, put the bigots in the bin" -- a popular and well-known chant at progressive demonstrations. But a video, shared by Life Choice Australia on Facebook and Twitter, claimed the protesters had said "put the fetus in the bin".
Pro-choice advocates have previously called out other "misinformation" spread around the NSW bill, including about in what circumstances and time-frame an abortion can be accessed.
"It's actually a chant which was used all through the marriage equality debate, and 'get in the bin' is a pretty standard colloquialism in Australia," Sinead Canning, campaign manager for the NSW Pro-Choice Alliance, told 10 daily.
"It's just completely disrespectful to even suggest people would be saying that ['fetus']. I've had people call me on the phone thinking they've damaged the movement because their words are being completely misconstrued with these demonstrably false claims."
Canning said a closer look at footage posted online showed pro-choice protesters chanting a word starting with 'b', rather than 'f'.
"This has got me really incensed and angry on behalf of young women coming out to march for their right to choose... they're essentially being defamed," she claimed.
"These are lies being propagated. I think it's pretty irresponsible to put that up without first talking to the women chanting it. They've ignored our calls."
The Life Choice video has, as of time of publication, been viewed more than 35,000 times on Twitter and more than 77,000 times on Facebook, and been shared or retweeted around 2,000 times.
A different video of the same incident, shown on 7 News on Saturday, also claimed in a subtitle that protesters had said "fetus", while some other news outlets embedded -- but later removed -- the Life Choice video from their online articles.
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On Channel 7's Sunrise program on Monday, Joyce -- who previously claimed the abortion debate was "the slavery debate of our time" -- repeated the claim that protesters had said "fetus", adding: "It just feels evil".
Sunrise tweeted a clip of that segment, including Joyce's claim about the chant in the text of the tweet.
In a tweet posted on Sunday afternoon, Life Choice shared the 7 News package, saying, "They seem to think it's "fetus" too!"
Reached on Monday, Life Choice director Rebecca Gosper stuck by her group's claim that the word said was "fetus".
"It was clear to many who watched the footage of the pro-choice rally that they were chanting "put the fetus in the bin"," she told 10 daily
"However, if indeed they were chanting "put the bigots in the bin" this is highly offensive to the politicians, like Tanya Davies, who are working to make this abortion bill safer for women and children in New South Wales. Violence of any type is completely unacceptable and must be condemned."
At the rally, Abbott -- who lost his seat of Warringah at the May federal election -- claimed the NSW decriminalisation bill would lead to "infanticide on demand".
Tensions are expected to flare when the abortion bill debate continues in state parliament. Upper house MPs will this week consider a raft of proposed amendments on the bill to decriminalise abortion, more than a month after it passed the lower house 59-31.
The draft legislation would allow terminations up to 22 weeks -- and later, with the consent of two doctors.
Liberal and Labor MPs have been allowed a conscience vote on the private member's bill, with opponents raising concerns about late-term abortions, conscientious objection, gender-based terminations and the way in which the bill was introduced.
A cross-party group of MPs, which includes Shooters MP Robert Borsak, One Nation MP Mark Latham, Labor MP Courtney Houssos and Liberal MP Natasha Maclaren-Jones, is pushing a number of proposed amendments in the upper house.
The controversial amendments have been criticised by the NSW Pro-Choice Alliance, which says they would "devastate" women's access to healthcare.
"The Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill as it stands is an appropriate and conservative approach to decriminalising abortion and regulating it as the health procedure it is," alliance chair Wendy McCarthy said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian -- who voted in favour of the bill in the lower house -- said she thought amendments would be passed in the upper house.