Socialist Worker

TUC conference: abortion debate

Issue No. 2118

The TUC overwhelmingly voted to call for an end to anti-abortion attacks on women’s rights and for improved access to abortion services. Their demands included extending abortion rights for women in Northern Ireland.

This autumn sees the final stages of the government’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. MPs have tabled a number of amendments for the report stage of the bill.

The TUC motion condemned anti-abortion amendments to the bill such as the attempts to impose a “cooling off” period and compulsory counselling for women seeking abortion.

The motion said these measures would have “appalling consequences for women seeking abortion and assume women are not capable of making their own decisions”.

The motion backed pro-choice amendments to the bill arguing that “abortion should be legally available at the request of the woman and the requirement that two doctors agree to her decision should be ended”.

The motion also called for “the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland”.

Lorene Fabian, chair of the TUC women’s committee, moved the motion. She said, “A massive 83 percent of the public believe in a woman’s right to choose.

“One in three women workers will have an abortion at some point in their lives. MPs must hear the strength of pro-choice feeling ahead of the vote from union members and from the leadership.”

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