Abortion: let’s get off the back foot

// 20 May 2011

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dont turn back the clock.jpgAs Jess posted last month, Nadine Dorries and Frank Field have begun making the first attempts since the Coalition Government took office to restrict abortion access. And as Sunny Hundal has covered on Liberal Conspiracy, these attempts have already gained traction with MPs voting to allow proposed girls-only abstinence classes to be considered by Parliament in January.

Readers will no doubt remember that women faced a number of similar attacks to our reproductive rights in 2008, which we covered on the blog. At the time, we organized effectively to resist the attempts to further restrict access to abortion in Britain. But we were on the back foot, defending the limited rights that we have. This time the fight to retain the rights we have is probably going to be even harder.

In addition, we’re still quite far from having the reproductive rights we actually need:

  • We still need two doctors’ permission to get an abortion in Britain
  • Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland unless it is life threatening (and access is still a problem in those cases)

It’s time for the women’s rights movement in the UK to start pro-actively claiming all our reproductive rights I think – including the right to own our bodies and control what happens to them. What should we do?

Well, Jess and Sunny are organising an open meeting to help us figure this out.

The aim will be to talk about what we can do to step up the response by pro-choice/reproductive justice activists, which backs up, supports and amplifies the work that groups such as Abortion Rights and Education for Choice are already doing.


The meeting will be on Monday 6 June, starting at 6:30pm (get there for 6!).

It will be free to attend.

It will be at a pub in central London.

The details of the location will be emailed to all those who RSVP.

There will be speakers (TBC).

If you would like to come, please RSVP to Jess.

Note: places are very limited because of the size of the venue. Please let us know if you want to come along as soon as you can.

Update: although the meeting is in a pub, no drinking is required (I won’t be!).

Photo of a protesting white woman holding a banner that reads ‘Don’t turn back the clock’ by ge’shmally, shared under a Creative Commons license

Comments From You

Kate // Posted 20 May 2011 at 8:09 pm

Anyone up for a parallel meeting in Edinburgh? We could even Skype in or similar to see what ideas are going round?

Sarah Jackson // Posted 20 May 2011 at 9:03 pm

YES! Couldn’t agree more. So glad the F Word is on the case.

In case people are interested I interviewed the brilliant EFC and Abortion Rights quite recently about whether we need to build a reproductive justice movement in the UK, and got some really interesting insights (in fact it was tough to cut it down to what went into the post)


Saranga // Posted 20 May 2011 at 10:57 pm

I am on holiday and not near London anyway so cannot attend. Please keep us updated though and if there is anything I cna do in an online capacity please let me know.

sunny hundal // Posted 21 May 2011 at 1:37 am

Parallel meetings are a great idea! Skyping in at the same time might be slightly difficult as I’m not sure if we have wifi access (though if we do I’ll definitely bring my laptop).

Nevertheless, if parallel meetings take place then we can compare notes after.

Jess McCabe // Posted 21 May 2011 at 12:57 pm

I agree, a parallel meeting would be a great idea, Kate. If there’s anything we can do to help facilitate that or promote it, then let me know: jess.mccabe@thefword.org.uk


evieS // Posted 22 May 2011 at 8:38 pm

Fantastic suggestion re the parallel meetings – will watch the site for more info thanks…

Catherine Elms // Posted 25 May 2011 at 5:33 pm

I wish I could come, but I live in Wales, so I’m too far away! Maybe my feminist friends will try to organise a parallel meeting in Swansea.

welshfeminist // Posted 25 May 2011 at 7:46 pm

Check out Twitter #prochoicedemo2011

James E Lyon // Posted 25 May 2011 at 9:13 pm

Also watching out for parallel meetings, just in case… (Would you tweet any such, too, perhaps?)

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