Pro-choice actions you can take

// 16 October 2007

Following on from Lynn’s post about the current Parliamentary committee hearings on Abortion (which is due to report before Christmas), readers may be interested to know that the Human Tissue and Embryo Bill is due to go through Parliament in November and is sure to mobilise those on all sides of the abortion ‘debate’ (doesn’t always look like a proper debate now does it?).

And The Observer recently ran an excellent piece on the latest degradation to the right to legal abortions in the US, asking whether it foreshadows the coming tide in the UK:

By a vote of five to four the American Supreme Court decided to uphold a federal law that allows states to criminalise a certain form of second-trimester termination. It was the first time judges have agreed that a specific abortion procedure could be banned and the first time that they have approved an abortion restriction that does not contain an exception for the health of the woman (although there is an exception to save the woman’s life).

After having read all this abortion talk, those within London distance who are itching to just *do* something on the issue already can fundraise for Abortion Rights and celebrate 40 years since the Abortion Act all at the same time at their special anniversary fundraising screening of Vera Drake.

Special guests will include Mike Leigh (director of the film), Lord David Steel (architect of the 1967 Act) and Polly Toynbee (Guardian columnist). Details: date is 22 October, tickets cost £40 (discounts available for members), venue is Barbican Centre London. Tickets available via the Abortion Rights website or by phoning 020 7923 9792.

The money raised will help the organisation gear up for the parliamentary debates on changes to the abortion law that will shortly be following the select committee’s work.

For those outside London or not able to make the screening, Abortion Rights is also coordinating a Pro-Choice Week of Action from 20-27 October. Their website has lots of ideas about actions to take and there are campaign materials available from their office for those who really want to go for it.

And if you have only five minutes to spare, you can still take action by adding your voice to their new pro-choice campaign:

Abortion Rights has launched [a] new ‘speak out’ campaign website to break the silencing taboo about being pro-choice or having an abortion and to lobby for liberalisation of the abortion law.

The campaign aims to balance out the disproportionate air time that the anti-abortion lobby receives even though it is in the minority: according to their polling, three quarters of the British population support a woman’s right choose. In their words:

‘Speak out’ websites in the US and elsewhere have been influential in shaping the abortion debate – shifting media attention back on to women.

It is time the pro-choice majority was heard and the law brought into line with public opinion.

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