Australian senator ‘changes gender’ in abortion clash

A debate in Australia's parliament over late-term abortion grew heated this week.
Caption
A debate in Australia's parliament over late-term abortion grew heated this week.

Credit: Stefan Postles

Credit: Stefan Postles

An Australian member of Parliament told a conservative male colleague to "get his hands and his rosaries off my ovaries," during a contentious debate about abortion, 9 News reported. In response, the man declared his gender "to be a woman" so left-wingers could no longer attack him over his views, according to a video of his speech that was shared  on social media.

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National Party senator Barry O'Sullivan, 61, made a motion Monday to prohibit pro-choice activists from disrupting the annual Day of the Unborn Child on March 25. The day was established by Pope John Paul II to provide a "position option in favor of life," 9 News reported.

Green Party senator Larissa Waters criticized the motion, telling O'Sullivan he would never understand women's choices.

"Senator O'Sullivan needs to get his hands and his rosaries off my ovaries and those of the 10,000 Queensland women who have an abortion each year," Waters told Parliament.

Both senators represent Queensland.

"She attacked me for my religious basis ... using words like rosary beads, because I had the audacity to raise issues around late-term abortions," O'Sullivan told Parliament. "I am going to declare my gender today, as I can, to be a woman and then you'll no longer be able to attack me."

Waters later withdrew her remark after another senator said it reflected on O'Sullivan's religion, 9 News reported.

O’Sullivan’s motion failed by a 32-12 mark, with 32 abstentions.