Over 400 joined the UK Feminsta lobby of parliament yesterday (Wednesday) to demand that their MPs stop attacking women’s rights.
A packed rally of mainly women, young and old and from all over the country, heard campaigners on abortion rights, childcare and violence against women.
Campaigner and writer Melissa Benn told Socialist Worker, “It’s fantastic to see all the generations join up like this to take up the struggle. I’m here with my daughter—it’s her first lobby”.
Speakers from all the main parties attended. Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said under that the Tories “the clock is being turned back on women’s rights”.
Tory MP Amber Rudd was heckled and booed when she tried to claim that the government wasn’t planning to attack abortion rights and that the Tories were “not after women’s bodies”.
Darinka Aleksic from the campaign group Abortion Rights spoke about the need to defend women’s rights to access abortion services. Jeremy Hunt, the new health secretary, says he wants to cut the time limit for abortions in half to 12 weeks.
Darinka condemned the rise of anti-abortion campaigners who confront women going in to clinics that provide abortions. “Women have the right to access abortion rights without harassment,” she said.
A group of actors in costume who had played suffragettes during the Olympics opening ceremony led a lively march from the rally to Parliament Square. They were joined by the granddaughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.
Gill, a post graduate student from Brighton, said, “Women’s rights have been attacked and eroded since the coalition government got in. We have to make them realise we will stand up for our rights.”