Feminists fight back on abortion

// 20 February 2007

This is just a quick post to remind you to get your marching boots out in preparation for the abortions rights protest on 3 March, which Holly posted about at the beginning of the month. If you don’t have this date already penned in your diary then make a note of it now.

Following on from the success of the Feminist Fightback Conference held at the School of Asian and Oriental Studies (SOAS) on 21 October 2006, the organising session of the conference has agreed to hold a torch-lit march for abortion rights in central London at the beginning of March. The march will commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act, which legalised abortion in Britain, and, considering the recent stirrings of anti-choice right wingers, this protest will be important in ensuring that we make it known that women should be entitled to choose.

News this month that abortions will be banned on Harley Street in the near future has raised worrying concerns that this may be setting a precedent for things to come, and the introduction of stringent abortion laws, so we need to make our voice heard now.

The aim of the Feminist Fightback march is to demand the following:

– No reduction in the 24-week time limit for access to abortion.

– The right to abortion on demand (this means an end to having to get the consent of two doctors) up to the legal time limit.

– The extension of abortion rights to women in Northern Ireland.

– Abortion to be integrated into the NHS as an ordinary medical service.

– An end to privatisation and fragmentation in the NHS; increased public funding to guarantee free and equal access to abortion.

– Improved access to, and increased choice of, publicly funded contraception.

– Clear, honest, comprehensive and confidential sexuality and relationship education for all children, which addresses issues of consent and domestic violence.

– A real ‘right to choose’ which also means the right to have a child free from economic and social pressure. This requires a real living wage for all workers, benefits which can be lived on and rise with earnings, universal publicly funded childcare, and an end to the stigmatisation of single mothers.

This event is open to both men and women alike, and those who want to take part will start meeting from 6.30pm at the University of London Union on Malet Street (Goodge Street, Euston, Euston Square or Russell Square tube) to march followed by a rally.

Following the news this month that Portugal is to legalise abortion, let’s ensure that this progressive attitude continues in Britain too, and women are not forced into pursuing unsafe, and sometimes deadly, methods of procuring terminations, as was unfortunately the case prior to the legalisation of abortion in the 1960s.

For more information, or advise about how to get involved, contact Laura Rogers and/or Laura Schwartz, members of the Feminist Fightback organising team, on team@fightback.org.uk, and see www.fightback.org.uk or www.socialistfeminist.org.uk.

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