Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/535/4160

From The Socialist newspaper, 28 May 2008

Women welcome abortion rights victory - now fight to extend rights

1,000 people joined a lively Abortion Rights Campaign protest opposite Parliament , photo Leah Jones and Anna Engelhardt

1,000 people joined a lively Abortion Rights Campaign protest opposite Parliament , photo Leah Jones and Anna Engelhardt

THE VARIOUS attempts to restrict rights to abortion, via amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill, ended in defeat on 20 May as MPs voted to keep the status quo (24-week upper limit).

Eleanor Donne

MPs had also voted earlier to allow the creation of 'saviour siblings' genetically matched to treat an older brother or sister, and 'hybrid embryos' for use in scientific research and to remove the requirement for IVF clinics to consider the 'need for a father' before allowing a medically assisted pregnancy.

As they debated, 1,000 people joined a lively Abortion Rights Campaign protest opposite Parliament - mostly young women but with good support from men too. Some older women who remember what life was like before the 1967 Abortion Act could especially relate to placards saying 'don't turn back the clock'.

1,000 people joined a lively Abortion Rights Campaign protest opposite Parliament , photo Leah Jones and Anna Engelhardt

1,000 people joined a lively Abortion Rights Campaign protest opposite Parliament , photo Leah Jones and Anna Engelhardt

The old slogan: "Not the Church, not the state, women should decide their fate" was also prominent - still relevant given Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor's outrageous comments comparing abortions to deaths in Nazi concentration camps.

The closest Commons vote was on the proposed reduction to 22 weeks, (304 against and 233 for - a majority of 71). This was the amendment seen as most likely to succeed, as anti-abortion groups focused on the issue of viability of the foetus. They used selective statistics to claim that survival rates for premature babies at 22 and 23 weeks have massively improved and so the current limit was unacceptable.

This has been widely refuted by evidence gathered by Parliament's Science and Technology Committee, that recommended that the upper limit stay at 24 weeks.

Anti-abortion groups recognise they will not win any attempts to outlaw abortion completely as support for the 'right to choose' in general remains very high. Groups such as the Pro-Life Alliance and the Alive and Kicking Campaign, used their considerable resources to bombard the media with misinformation, focusing on late abortions (post-20 weeks) and their view that abortion is 'too easy'.

There were a number of trade union banners present, photo Leah Jones and Anna Engelhardt

There were a number of trade union banners present, photo Leah Jones and Anna Engelhardt

This may have had an effect, as reflected in some polls specifically asking about late abortions. Because of this, anti-choice groups try to portray the parliamentary votes as evidence that MPs are out of step with what ordinary people think on abortion.

They may now pin their hopes on a Tory victory at the next election, or at least an increased number of Tory MPs, to get a vote through. Nadine Dorries, the Tory MP who moved the 20-week amendment (whilst bizarrely claiming to support a woman's right to choose) is persistent.

We cannot just breathe a sigh of relief that the vote is over. In many ways the campaign spearheaded by Abortion Rights became a defensive one - to hold on to what we've got. Their programme rightly calls for an extension of rights such as removing the need for two doctors' signatures, (which the British Medical Association describes as "out of step with the increasing emphasis on patient autonomy in all other areas of medicine") and allowing trained nurses to perform terminations.

1,000 people joined a lively Abortion Rights Campaign protest opposite Parliament , photo Leah Jones and Anna Engelhardt

1,000 people joined a lively Abortion Rights Campaign protest opposite Parliament , photo Leah Jones and Anna Engelhardt

Socialist Party members would add a vital demand that abortions be fully funded by the NHS, something that was never a commitment in the 1967 Act.

Given the Science and Technology committee's conclusion that there should be a review of the "two-signature rule", it is an indictment that apparently no Labour or even Liberal MP was prepared to seize the opportunity to put in a positive amendment on this.

The trade unions, many of whom are affiliated to Abortion Rights Campaign, missed a similar opportunity to launch a widespread campaign to defend and extend abortion rights, including a call for a national demonstration. It is important to counter the lies of the Pro-Life Alliance, SPUC and others and the trade unions have the strength and the financial resources to do this.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 28 May 2008:

Build A New Workers' Party

Crewe and Nantwich 'no-win' by-election: Why New Labour lost

I told my union: "We need a new workers' party"

Westminster parties are remote from life

Campaign for a new workers' party: conference 2008

MPs' expensive expenses


Socialist Party campaigns

Tax the rich not the poor!

Exeter bomb explosion: Workers' unity needed against terrorism, war and deprivation

Johnson's Prince of Darkness

Them & Us

Greenwich - save our centres


Socialist Party women

Women welcome abortion rights victory: Now fight to extend rights


Youth and crime

Home secretary: "Tough on crime"...but not the causes

'Youth justice': repressive measures do not work


Socialist Party feature

'Counter-terrorism' legislation threatens our democratic rights


International socialist analysis

South Africa: Attacks on refugees and migrants reveal capitalism's barbaric underbelly


Socialist Party review

The Wire - Reviewed by Michael Wrack


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS conference: More battles ahead on pay and jobs

Usdaw general secretary election: Members want democratic debate

Industrial news in brief


 

Home   |   The Socialist 28 May 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Abortion:

triangleTV review: Abortion on Trial - hard-hitting look at impact of 1967 act

triangleThem and us

triangle1967 Abortion Act reflected social changes

triangleCardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

triangleLeeds Socialist Students marks 'International Safe Abortion Day'

Women:

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Women and Revolution

triangleBosses say 217 years to close pay gap - workers' struggle can close it now!

triangleWhat we saw

triangleWestminster sexual harassment scandal

Pro-life:

trianglePoland: anger at abortion ban plan

triangleDefend and extend abortion rights

Right to choose:

triangleWeakened Tories forced into Northern Ireland abortion u-turn

triangleThem & Us

1967 Abortion Act:

triangleNorthern Ireland: movement needed for abortion rights

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/11/17

Sheffield

Sheffield Eastern Ave Job Centre strike ends

16/11/17

Virgin

Virgin train workers vote for strike action over pay

15/11/17

Students

March for free education! We demand a future!

15/11/17

Plymouth

Plymouth PCS members fight relocation threat

15/11/17

Virgin

Virgin train workers ballot for strike action

15/11/17

Carlisle

Carlisle socialists campaign against Universal Credit

15/11/17

Haringey

Corbyn must challenge pro-gentrification council leader or others will

15/11/17

Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party: "I started to question whether there was a better way"

13/11/17

Manchester

Strike wave continues with 49 walkout days by housing workers

10/11/17

RMT

Strikers picket the South Western Railway network

10/11/17

Merseyside

Huge support for strikes of bus drivers and train guards

10/11/17

Socialist Party

Highest ever ticket sales for Socialism event

9/11/17

Pay

Serco - not fit for purpose

9/11/17

Rail

Fight to keep guards on trains continues despite setback Aslef deal

8/11/17

Birmingham

Brum meeting celebrates centenary of 1917

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle15 Nov March for free education! We demand a future!

triangle15 Nov Tories on the brink - kick them out!

Socialism 2017

triangle14 Nov Socialism 2017: Organising to fight back

triangle13 Nov Strike wave continues with 49 walkout days by housing workers

triangle10 Nov US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

triangle10 Nov Strikers picket the South Western Railway network

triangle10 Nov Europe in crisis, revolutionary winds in Catalonia

More ...

triangle20 Nov Birmingham Central Socialist Party: How can socialists support upcoming strikes?

triangle21 Nov Cardiff Socialist Students: Socialism and the struggle for LGBT rights

triangle21 Nov Birmingham South East Socialist Party: NHS in Meltdown - What can be done?

triangle21 Nov Sheffield North Socialist Party: The causes of capitalist crisis

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2