Pro choice rally

A Great Violation: The 1985 Abortion Clinic Raid

After finding a mysterious photograph of her mother with a baby and a man she didn’t recognise, journalist Amelia Oberhardt went down a rabbit hole of 1960s and 1970s Australia.

Amelia’s journey revealed many disturbing facts about Australia’shistory including forced adoptions, family shame and unfair societal expectations.  

In this episode of Secrets We Keep, Amelia shines a light on what options were available for a woman faced with an unintended pregnancy in 1960s and 70s in Queensland, where her mum grew up.

Tune into the full episode of Secrets We Keep below…

Anti-abortion laws were introduced in the 19th century and Queensland wouldn’t fully decriminalise abortion until 2018.  

In the early 1970s, those who wanted a safe, legal termination would fly interstate. It wasn’t until 1977 that Queensland’s first abortion clinic opened, known to the locals as the Greenslopes clinic. 

This was followed by clinics opening in Rockhampton and Townsville, which were opened by Dr David Grundmann.  

RELATED:   How King Richard III's DNA Shows Two False Royal Paternities

David was present and performing procedures at his Townsville clinic when police raided the clinic, seizing the confidential medical records of thousands of patients.  

“A large troop of plain clothes policemen came in waving a warrant and saying, you’ve got to stop everything and we have to seize everything in the place,” David said.  

“A terrifying experience for my patients. The police were courteous. They didn’t go out of their way to make anybody feel uncomfortable and quite frankly, my own feeling was that the police were probably as uncomfortable as I was. 

“They didn’t really want to be there. How do I know this? Because a number of them had wives and girlfriends who were patients of mine.” 

David’s clinic was one of two clinics raided simultaneously in May 1985, the raids at the Brisbane Greenslopes clinic much larger and causing public outcry.

Find out more in the latest episode of Secrets We Keep: Shame, Lies and Family.