News, Culture & Society

Aussies react to the ‘sickening’ decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade

Australians living in the United States have been left shocked by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling – with some even considering a move back Down Under.

The landmark decision had recognised Americans’ constitutional right to abortion and legalised it nationwide.

But as of last Friday, federal protection for abortion in the US is removed, meaning the decision of abortion legality is in the hands of the states.

Australians both at home and living in the US shared their reaction to the news.

Australians both at home and the US have shared their reactions to the US Supreme Court’s overruling of Roe v Wade, removing federal protection for abortion. (Pictured: abortion rights protesters in Jackson, Mississippi)

Freelance writer Sophie Hanson, who moved to New York City in 2019, told Crikey that she was ‘sickened’.

‘The fact that only six unelected people can make a religious-based ruling that impacts half the country is horrid, dangerous and hypocritical,’ she said. 

‘When a gun has more rights in this country than my uterus, that’s pretty messed up.’ 

While Ms Hanson and her husband have chosen to remain childless, the news has still made her frightened for the future of the country.

She explained that if the government implemented a nationwide abortion ban she’d consider moving back to Australia. 

‘I am terrified of a future where hardline Christian Republican Mike Pence, who’s right now calling for a national abortion ban, wins the presidency. If he does, that might convince me to move,’ she told Crikey.

Digital strategist Michael Chaitow, who also moved to the US in 2019, expressed his view that America was heading ‘in the wrong direction’ after overturning Roe v. Wade and still persisting with lax gun laws.

He described the US as heading towards a ‘less safe, less equal and less healthy society’.

Australians back at home have also reacted negatively to the decision, with protests scheduled in major capital cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra this Friday and Saturday.

NITV journalist Rachael Knowles said told News.com.au: ‘It’s just another reminder that as a woman your body is never really yours, and that the whole system is working to push us into this patriarchal way of being.’

‘This has become so much more aggressive in the past few years.’

Meanwhile, Gareth Nicholas Richie told the publication: ‘With the talk of policing women’s bodies, all it shows to me is that the United States is not a country that anyone should look up to. The “ideal” America does not exist.’

Freelance writer Sophie Hanson (pictured) is living with her husband in New York. She said the news left her 'sickened'. She believes she may move back to Australia if a national abortion ban is implemented

Freelance writer Sophie Hanson (pictured) is living with her husband in New York. She said the news left her ‘sickened’. She believes she may move back to Australia if a national abortion ban is implemented

The Supreme Court controversially elected to strike down Roe v. Wade, a nearly 50 year-old decision that granted women the constitutional right to abortion, sparking widespread protests. (Pictured: protesters in Jackson, Mississippi)

The Supreme Court controversially elected to strike down Roe v. Wade, a nearly 50 year-old decision that granted women the constitutional right to abortion, sparking widespread protests. (Pictured: protesters in Jackson, Mississippi) 

The reaction from Aussies comes as four of Australia’s tech billionaires will bankroll their American staff, plus a companion, to reach a safe and legal abortion as the fiery aftermath of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision continues.

Graphic design platform Canva has joined software juggernaut Atlassian, both Sydney-based companies that have become spectacularly successful globally, offering to pay for travel and accommodation for US employees.

The move and accompanying statements by the four ultra-rich Aussies behind two of Australia’s most successful tech companies in recent memory are a notable flex against the American conservative right.

Joint Atlassian CEOs Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar are respectively worth $27.83billion and $26.41billion, while Canva bosses Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht are jointly valued at $13.82billion.

All four are in the top 10 richest Australians released last week by the AFR.

In a statement provided to Daily Mail Australia, Canva said it was ‘concerned for [US] society.’

‘We are deeply concerned by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade – concerned for the millions of people who have lost access to safe healthcare, concerned for our team in the United States who are directly impacted by changes to the law, and concerned for society as a result of the precedent this decision sets, a Canva spokesperson said.

In a statement provided to Daily Mail Australia, Canva said it would cover travel and accommodation for its US staff to reach safe abortions and that it is 'concerned for [US] society'

In a statement provided to Daily Mail Australia, Canva said it would cover travel and accommodation for its US staff to reach safe abortions and that it is ‘concerned for [US] society’

Atlassian will immediately pay 'travel and accommodation' costs for US-based employees - and 'a companion' - so they can get a safe abortion (Pictured co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes who tweeted the policy on Saturday morning, with wife Anne Cannon-Brookes)

Atlassian will immediately pay ‘travel and accommodation’ costs for US-based employees – and ‘a companion’ – so they can get a safe abortion (Pictured co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes who tweeted the policy on Saturday morning, with wife Anne Cannon-Brookes)

The Australian companies are among several to have quickly offered such benefits – despite being threatened not to do so by Republican senators.

Atlassian is believed to have around 3,000 US-based employees, while Canva is thought to have around 100.

Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Starbucks, Tesla, Meta (Facebook), Uber, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup have all pledged material support for staff wanting abortions.

With millions of women expected to cross U.S. state lines to access legal abortions, many employers have added ‘critical healthcare’ packages to employees’ benefit programs.

Its statement added that ‘While we appreciate the spectrum of personal views on this topic, we believe that safe healthcare is a human right’.

‘In addition to our current wellbeing offerings … as a first step, from today, we’re covering the cost of travel and accommodation for U.S. based Canvanauts and their chosen support person to access abortion care in a state where it is not restricted or banned.’

The Australian company is among several to have quickly offered such benefits - despite being threatened not to do so by Republican senators (Pictured Atlassian's co-founders and joint CEOs Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar)

The Australian company is among several to have quickly offered such benefits – despite being threatened not to do so by Republican senators (Pictured Atlassian’s co-founders and joint CEOs Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar) 

Mike Brookes-Cannon was quick to alert social media on Saturday to his company's official position on the US Supreme Court decision on abortion

Mike Brookes-Cannon was quick to alert social media on Saturday to his company’s official position on the US Supreme Court decision on abortion 

Atlassian made it clear on Saturday morning it would immediately pay ‘travel and accommodation’ costs for US-based employees – and ‘a companion’ – so they can get a safe abortion.

Atlassian's billionaire co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes tweeted his company's 'dismayed' reaction on Saturday morning and a defiant statement.

Atlassian’s billionaire co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes tweeted his company’s ‘dismayed’ reaction on Saturday morning and a defiant statement.

Half of US states are expected to ban abortion after the Supreme Court decision including Texas, Utah, Mississippi and Georgia. Florida may extend an existing ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Abortion remains legal in California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Nevada and Colorado.

Atlassian’s billionaire co-founder and joint-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes tweeted his company’s ‘dismayed’ reaction on Saturday morning with a defiant statement.

‘Starting today US employees living in states that have restricted or banned abortions will be offered reimbursement for travel and accommodations for themselves and a companion should they seek care outside their state,’ the statement said.

‘Today’s decision by the Supreme Court not only strips away rights from women and pregnant people but puts their health and safety at risk.

‘At Atlassian we are dismayed at this decision and stand firmly against the restriction and removal of rights.’

It also said the health and safety of employees was a ‘priority’, including their ‘right to access safe and legal reproductive healthcare’.

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