Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Cyclist in spitting attack on anti-abortion protester

POLICE are searching for a cyclist who was filmed spitting at a pro-life demonstrator outside NSW Parliament.

Dashcam footage of the incident shows the cyclist travelling along Macquarie St in the CBD yesterday before they veer onto the wrong side of the road and mounts a footpath.

The rider then appears to spit in the direction of a man holding a placard outside Parliament House before cycling away.

Andrew Taylor, the driver who filmed the act, told 2GB's Ben Fordham the victim was an anti-abortion protester.

Mr Taylor said he "personally witnessed" the man wipe spit off his face before joining fellow demonstrators.

The cyclist was filmed riding towards the man and appeared to spit at him. Picture: 2GB
The cyclist was filmed riding towards the man and appeared to spit at him. Picture: 2GB

Police have been notified and any witnesses are urged to provide information.

The incident comes as the head of Premier Gladys Berejiklian's Armenian church attacked the rush to pass new abortion laws, arguing the changes require six months to a year to consider.

Armenian Church of Australia primate, Archbishop Haigazoun Najarian was also asked during a public hearing into the controversial legislation if he had attempted to ring Ms Berejiklian over the controversial laws, but the question was ruled out of order.

Three religious leaders gave evidence that they opposed the laws, including the National Imams Council president Iman Hassan Elsetohy and Antiochian Orthodox head, Metropolitan Basil Kodseie.

Archbishop Najarian said his church considered a foetus a "distinct being", "separate from his mother".

The rider crossed into the opposite lane before mounting the footpath in front of the protester. Picture: 2GB
The rider crossed into the opposite lane before mounting the footpath in front of the protester. Picture: 2GB

"I would like to hear arguments from different points of view," he said.

"Do we need more sex education for teenagers or more abortion clinics?

"That's why need time for open discussion. To spend six months or a year will give us the opportunity to study the matter deeply and convincingly arrive at a conclusion that is beneficial for the majority."

Archbishop Haigazoun Nazarian from the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Archbishop Haigazoun Nazarian from the Armenian Apostolic Church.

ALP MP Greg Donnelly asked him if he had "attempted to contact" Premier Berejiklian and speak to her about the bill, but chairman, Liberal MP Shayne Mallard ruled it out of order.

Mr Donnelly replied that Ms Berejiklian was the state member for Willoughby and she's "on the record for being a significant and proud supporter of the religious and cultural associations of the Armenian community".

The public hearing had to be cleared for the committee members to debate the issue, before the inquiry resumed.

Rabbi Nochum Schapiro also addressed the Upper House inquiry earlier in the week. Picture: Tim Hunter.
Rabbi Nochum Schapiro also addressed the Upper House inquiry earlier in the week. Picture: Tim Hunter.

 

The inquiry has also been given evidence by senior obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Simon McCaffrey, who is a VMO at Liverpool Hospital and other hospitals, said he had major concerns with the bill.

He raised the issue that there was often differences of opinion by medical experts about foetal anomalies leading to abortion.

"Some nonlethal conditions can stabilise, some can spontaneously regress and some can have minimal impact on a child and parent after surgical correction," he said. "Unfortunately I have witnessed cases when a termination was performed for an abnormality detected on radiological investigations and subsequent autopsy revealed no abnormality."

He said he had participated in 3000 foetal and peri-natal clinical meetings in 40 years of practice.

"Despite the expertise, experience and sincerity of the involved clinicians, there was often differences of opinion, especially in relation to non-fetal anomalies."

"In conclusion, this bill falls far short of best practice management and is a disservice to the women who the bill purports to be assisting."