Tory MP Ann Widdecombe is set to take part in an anti-abortion speaking tour across Britain in an effort to marshal opponents of a woman’s right to choose. She will face strong opposition everywhere she goes.
The tour has been arranged to coincide with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill currently going through parliament, which is expected to face amendments to limit access to abortion.
The pro-choice campaign group Abortion Rights last week launched its campaign to defend and extend abortion rights at a packed meeting of 300 people in the House of Commons in London.
To applause Diane Abbott MP pointed out that anti-choice campaigners aren’t motivated by concern for children. She described their campaign as “fundamentally anti-woman”.
The mood of the meeting was upbeat and ready for action.
Beth Moore, women’s officer at Goldsmiths College students’ union, described the meeting as “phenomenal”.
She told Socialist Worker, “I’ve been incredibly inspired – there were so many people and it was so mixed – young and old, different ethnic groups and men and women together.
“At Goldsmiths we held a rally to spread the arguments to more students. Organising opposition to the Ann Widdecombe tour will help give us a focus.”
Teacher Rachel Kendall had travelled to the meeting from Bristol. She told Socialist Worker, “I raised the abortion campaign in my NUT union branch and asked that I come to this meeting as its official representative. I expected some people to raise objections but everyone agreed and a vote was passed unanimously.
“Teachers work with some vulnerable young women and we know how restrictions on abortion access would affect them.”
Alex Kemp, the National Union of Students’ disabled students’ officer, spoke about the need to defend a woman’s right to abortion in cases of foetal disability.
“Disabled people are very aware of the need to have control over our own bodies,” he said. “Year on year disabled people have made it clear that we support a woman’s right to choose.”
Some 30 students came to an abortion rights meeting in Glasgow university on Monday of this week with Ann Henderson from the Scottish TUC, a speaker from Amnesty and others.
Students were due to lobby the first meeting in Widdecombe’s anti-abortion tour in Glasgow on Wednesday of this week.
Widdecombe plans further meetings in Southampton on 30 January and Belfast on 31 January.