Thursday, January 10, 2008

Notes on Abortion Rights

The first weeks and months of 2008 are set to be decisive for women’s abortion rights in Britain. MPs and Peers opposed to abortion are seeking to amend the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, currently in Parliament, to restrict women’s access to abortion. Damaging amendments are already being debated in the House of Lords and votes on the abortion time limit are expected in the House of Commons after the middle of February.

As part of the effort to defend the right of a woman to choose what happens to her body there is a public meeting in the House of Commons under the banner "Defend the Abortion Act - Campaigning for a Woman's Right to Decide"

Date: Wednesday 16th January
Time: 7pm for a 7.30pm start
Venue: Committee room 10, House of Commons
Speakers include: Baroness Joyce Gould; Baroness Jenny Tonge; Emily Thornberry MP; Katy Clark MP; Diane Abbott MP; Frances O'Grady, Deputy General Secretary TUC; Wendy Savage, Doctors for a Woman's Choice on Abortion; Anni Marjoram, adviser to the Mayor of London; Alex Kemp, NUS Disabled Students' Campaign; Katherine Rake, director Fawcett Society

The organisers ask that you "Please allow plenty of time to clear security on entering the Palace of Westminster and tell the police outside Parliament that you are attending a meeting sponsored by Emily Thornberry MP."

I'd also add that at the Green Party conference in Reading next month there will be an excellent motion that all delegates should consider supporting. It reads;

To add to the start of H322 in the MfSS:

"The Green Party will support a change in the law to remove the requirement for two doctors to approve a woman's decision to have an abortion, and will support a change in the law to allow the procedure to be carried out by appropriately trained nurses and midwives up to three months of pregnancy. It will support NHS provision of such nurses and midwives and will support a widening of the number of locations at which an abortion can be carried out. This should reduce delays in service provision and prevent access being obstructed by doctors with personal antiabortion views."

I'll certainly be voting for this. We need to ensure that the right to choose is defended against attacks from the right, but we also need to extend that choice well beyond the meagre limits of the law as it stands today.

More information can be found at
The Bill’s progress and Hansard transcripts of the debates can be found here

1 comment:

Frank Partisan said...

Sometimes politicians use that issue to posture, rather than to actually ban abortion. Even reactionary women want the right to abortion, despite their rhetoric.