The right to abortion is again under attack.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is being debated in the House of Lords this week, and amendments to lower the 24-week time limit for legal abortion are expected.
Although late abortions make up only a tiny minority of abortions in Britain, defending the current time limit is crucial.
Women who have later abortions tend to be in the most vulnerable situations. Many are young, and some have mental health problems, making it difficult to face up to the reality of their pregnancy.
Some are older women who mistake pregnancy for the menopause. Others find that a change in their circumstances means that continuing the pregnancy is no longer feasible.
A lowering of the limit would mean women being forced to bear children they do not want and would encourage further attacks on a woman’s right to choose.
It is vital that we mobilise against any threat to abortion rights.
War lies come unstuck
The campaign to take military action against Iran has an unpleasant smell about it, one that you might remember from the build up to war on Iraq.
For two years now George Bush’s administration has led a relentless propaganda campaign designed to convince us that Iran is actively seeking to develop a nuclear bomb.
Now the US’s own intelligence services have demolished these claims, saying that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons programme in 2003.
The intelligence report will be a blow to the warmongers who hoped to use Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions as an excuse to bomb the country. But they will not let the matter end there.
Israel’s foreign minister has already publicly challenged the US report, claiming that “in our opinion” Iran has “apparently continued” the military nuclear programme it abandoned four years ago.
The anti-war movement needs to remain on high alert against lies that pave the way for bombs on Iran.
An injury to one...
Millions of people in Britain understand the value of a trade union – which is why, despite endless abuse heaped on them by newspapers, they retain a huge membership.
But unions can only perform their function of championing their members because of the large network of lay activists who give up their time to ensure that workers have a voice.
In the public sector in particular, this layer of union representatives is under sustained attack from the employers, as they are in the front line of resistance to the monotonously regular rounds of cuts, privatisations and sackings.
In Royal Mail, the NHS, and local and national government there are scores of reps that are facing the sack simply for defending their members.
It is vital that top union leaders associate themselves directly with their unpaid brothers and sisters who are under threat, and they must use every means at their disposal – from their sponsorship of Labour MPs to industrial action – to ensure that reps cannot be “picked off”.