Socialist Worker

Abortion Rights AGM: Pro-choice demos build campaign

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2131

Around 90 delegates attended the annual general meeting of Abortion Rights in London on Saturday of last week.

Activists from trade unions, women’s groups and student unions discussed their experiences of campaigning for abortion rights over the past year and their priorities for the next few months.

Abortion Rights has pulled in a lot of new members this year through its energetic and high profile campaigning.

Delegates spoke of their experiences in building mass protests against Ann Widdecombe’s anti-abortion speaking tour, overflowing Abortion Rights public meetings in London and protests outside parliament.

Activists were proud of the fact that Abortion Rights succeeded in raising the voice of the pro-choice majority at a time when anti-abortionists have been on the offensive. Yet they were also clear that there is much more to be done.

There was anger at how the Labour government had refused to let MPs debate extending the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.

Every week 40 women travel to Britain from Northern Ireland for abortions. Yet they are not entitled to free abortion services on the NHS and instead have to raise thousands of pounds to pay for private treatment.

Abortion Rights is backing an early day motion tabled by Labour MP Diane Abbott.

It calls for women who travel to Britain from Northern Ireland for abortions to be given them free on the NHS.

We should urgently contact MPs and argue for them to sign the motion. Trade unionists should ensure that union sponsored MPs back the motion.

Delegates also warned that abortion rights could come under further attack, especially if a Tory government is elected.

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Article information

Tue 9 Dec 2008, 18:04 GMT
Issue No. 2131
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