NEWCASTLE's Our Body Our Choice rally has drawn hundreds of people of all ages and genders to city streets calling for NSW to decriminalise abortion, which they say is required to make it safer and more affordable.
Ruby Hackett said she and fellow Merewether High student Aleeyah Clifford decided to organise the event after Aleeyah's Instagram post about attending a pro-choice rally in Sydney "got a lot of hate".
Frustrated by what they described as a lack of understanding and informed discussion about the issue and with desire for political change, they mobilised.
About 200 people, many carrying signs, assembled in Civic Park on Sunday to listen to speeches before marching along surrounding streets chanting slogans.
"Pro-lifers say 'I don't like abortions so nobody should have them'," Ruby told the Newcastle Herald.
"No-one is forcing you to have an abortion and we're not encouraging abortions.
"It's a hard thing for anyone to do. But it should be an accessible option."
Ruby said abortions were legal in NSW only when a doctor decided they were necessary to protect a patient physically or mentally and could cost between $300 and $700, making them unaffordable for many.
"I agree that abortion is not contraception and should not be used as contraception," she told the crowd.
"But contraception fails, rapes happen, wanted pregnancies are incompatible with life. And women should be allowed this choice!"
Aleeyah said they were fighting for "a fundamental human right for women: the right of personal autonomy, the right for control over our own freaking bodies".
"We all deserve the right to choose, no matter your reason - you are more than a walking womb."
Jackie Adamson, 40, said she attended to show younger women that they had the support of older generations.
She had to borrow about $400 to have a pregnancy terminated at 12 weeks when she was 26 and said she believed abortions should be affordable and lawful.
She was then a single mother to a daughter, 5, her relationship had crumbled and was about to be diagnosed with a mental illness.
"I was getting very unwell anyway and had a lot going on emotionally," she said.
"I have not had a single regret since and have never ever questioned it once. It was definitely the right decision for me."
Ella Weinzerl, 20, attended with her mother Penny and her grandmother and retired midwife Pam Hunter. Penny said she wanted to attend "for all women".
"Even though it's not being prosecuted now doesn't mean it won't be in the future. It's time to draw a line and say no more, time to stand up for what we believe in."
Ms Hunter, at her first rally, said it was "brilliant" to see women protesting.