The Scottish TUC women’s Conference this week in Glasgow Glasgow heard strong speeches on abortion rights.
Conference endorsed a motion moved by the PCS union that condemned moves to restrict access to abortion against a backdrop of recent sensationalist and ill-informed reporting.
Delegates called for a strong defence of the provisions of the 1967 Abortion Act, for better support for health workers in sexual health and abortion services and for improved sex education in schools.
At a fringe meeting sponsored by the Unison union, activists came together to defend the 1967 Abortion Act.
Louise Hutchins from Abortion Rights UK stressed the need to oppose any trade offs around service improvements for time limit reductions – defending the 24 week time limits is non-negotiable. She pointed out that only a tiny number of late abortions take place after 20 weeks, and each situation is different and individual.
Patrick Harvie MSP focussed on evidence that shows that more restrictive legislation does not reduce terminations – women will still seek out solutions.
The labour movement in Scotland has a strong tradition of defending abortion rights, valuing and respecting women and their decisions, and understanding that working class women have fewer options when faced with unwanted pregnancies.
We know that trade union women in the coming year will be campaigning all over Scotland on this issue. The support of the STUC women’s conference will take us forward more quickly and must be welcomed.