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Posted on 19 November 2012 at 13:56 GMT

Abortion rights letter being handed to Irish embassy on Wednesday

The following letter, signed by Socialist Party members including several leading trade unionists, will be handed to the Irish embassy in London (17 Grosvenor Place) at 9am Wednesday morning as part of an international day of action for abortion rights in Ireland.

Protests will also be taking place on Wednesday in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Bangalore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Edinburgh, Berlin, Brussels, Stockholm and Vienna.

Dear Ambassador,

The world was shocked by the tragic and avoidable death of Savita Halappanavar in an Irish hospital on 28 October.

Savita was experiencing a painful and traumatic miscarriage and asked doctors to end the pregnancy they told her was unviable.

They replied 'this is a Catholic country' and refused to remove the foetus until its heart had completely stopped beating, two days later. Savita then died of septacaemia and ecoli.

This appalling series of events is a direct result of the legislative limbo that exists in Ireland with regards to abortion.

It has been 20 years since Case X decreed that there should be the right to abortion where the mother's life is at risk. Yet successive governments since that time have failed to legislate on this basis.

Legislation has been proposed by Socialist Party Ireland's elected representatives at all levels of government but has continually been blocked by all the main parties.

If these politicians cannot find the courage to stand up for women and working class people, they should stand aside for those who will.

We support the Socialist Party and United Left Alliance's stand for women's rights and against austerity attacks.

The politicians who hypocritically vote against abortion rights on the basis of "standing up for children" seem to lose all concern for children once they are born and are the

same politicians voting for brutal attacks on working class children and families as a result of the bankers' crisis.

This archaic state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue. We the undersigned call on you to lobby the Irish government to immediately legislate for X as a first step to full abortion rights for women across Ireland.

We will be raising in our trade unions, student unions and community groups the need to support the struggle of women in Ireland for the right to control their own bodies.


Chris Baugh, PCS assistant general secretary

Vicky Perrin, Unison NEC (personal capacity)

Martin Powell-Davies, National Union of Teachers National Executive

Brian Debus, President Hackney Trades Council

Phil Clarke Secretary Brighton Trades Council

Nick Parker, Secretary, Lincoln & District Trades Union Council

Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Editor, the Socialist

Ian Pattison, Socialist Students national chair

Sarah Wrack, Socialist Party women's committee

John Malcolm Unison branch secretary Tees Esk and Wear valleys

Paul Hunt, assistant branch secretary Coventry District Unison (personal capacity)

Paul Couchman, Unison branch secretary, Surrey County Local Government branch and secretary of Surrey County Council Trade Union group (SCCTU)

Iain Dalton, USDAW Leeds private trade vice chair

Jared Wood, RMT branch political officer

Rob Williams, National Shop Stewards Network Chair

Glenn Kelly, staff side secretary, Bromley council

Jackie Grunsell, GP and former councillor

Tom Baldwin, Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts candidate for Bristol Mayor

Tony Mulhearn, Life member of Unite the Union and PCS

Stacey Dodd, Unite union, Coventry

James Kerr, National Union of Teachers

Matthew Gordon, Unite

Robin Clapp, Unite SW 287

Alec Price, Unite community

Jane James, National Union of Journalists

Ben Norman, Unite

Gavin Marsh, Unite

Jacqui Berry, Unison young members

TU Senan, National Union of Journalists

Yuvanesan, CWI Malaysia

Hugh Caffrey, Socialist Party North-West regional secretary

Steve Glennon, Socialist Party Eastern regional secretary

Sean Figg, Socialist Party national committee

Ken Douglas, Socialist Party national committee

Dave Reid, Socialist Party national committee

Alistair Tice, Socialist Party national committee

Andy Bentley, Socialist Party national committee

Dave Griffiths, Socialist Party national committee

Lenny Shail, Socialist Party national committee

Becci Heagney, Socialist Party national committee

Jim Thomson, Socialist Party national committee

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