Socialist Worker

LETTERS: Stuff the bigoted Daily Mail and decriminalise abortion

Issue No. 2545

The seat of abortion charity Marie Stopes (pic: Wikimedia Commons/Kim Traynor) and the Daily Mails shameful smear

The seat of abortion charity Marie Stopes (pic: Wikimedia Commons/Kim Traynor) and the Daily Mail's shameful smear


The Daily Mail newspaper complains that Marie Stopes’ doctors are effectively providing abortion on demand by certifying women for the procedure without actually seeing them.

It claimed that their call centre workers “rubber stamp a decision that some women regret for the rest of their days”.

The truth is that most women do not experience psychological problems or regret their abortions—and those who do tend to be women with a prior history of depression.

No other medical or surgical procedure in Britain requires the endorsement of one, let alone two doctors, as abortion does, before it can be carried out. For everything else all that is required is the consent of the patient.

The Daily Mail should come clean about its real agenda, which is to chip away at the existing law and make it harder and harder for women to access safe abortion.

They bleat about Marie Stopes receiving public money when the scandal is that charities are needed to provide abortion at all.

There should be sufficient capacity within the NHS.

Affluent women have always been able to access abortion relatively safely, whether it is legal or not.

Working class women understand that the legal right to abortion is hard won and that their lives have depended on it.

Abortion should be decriminalised, just as it has been in Canada. It is the woman’s right to choose.

There was a fantastic demonstration in Dublin on International Women’s Day last week. It demanded the repeal of the eighth amendment, which equates the life of a pregnant woman with that of a foetus.

This is the sort of action we need to take to oppose the likes of the Daily Mail and make decriminalisation a reality.

Jackie Turner, GP, East London


No to lies over trans people

BBC Woman’s Hour presenter Jenni Murray recently declared that trans women are not “real women”.

Murray believes that trans women have had “male privilege” and “do not know what it is like to be a woman”.

But a huge number of studies show that gender identity is formed during childhood.

Many “radical” feminists believe that children born with “male” bodies are inherently socialised to have privilege and power.

But there is nothing inherent about gender roles, male dominance and female subordination.

Ideas about gender roles are products of capitalist society. The vast majority of human history shows a much more complex picture.

Julie Webster, Nottingham

There is a biological difference between men and women, based on the fact that women have two X chromosomes, and men an X and a Y.

Yet to reduce things in this way risks simplifying a very complex situation.

Men with Kleinfelter’s Syndrome have two X and one Y chromosome. Women with Turner’s Syndrome have only a single X chromosome.

The idea that “natural” women form one group, and trans women another seems odd. Does a working class woman have more in common with Princess Diana, or with a working class man contemplating gender reassignment?

John Parrington, Oxford


Trump supports Israel but is no friend of Jews

support for Donald Trump from antisemites has begun to open serious discussions among Jewish people—even some of those who strongly support Israel.

What has gone almost entirely unremarked outside Jewish newspaper’s in Britain is a letter signed by almost 200 young Jews.

It included members of prominent pro-Israel groups the Jewish Board of Deputies and the Jewish Labour Movement.

The letter condemned the congratulations sent to Trump by Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies, as “beneath contempt” and “laughable”.

It demanded the Board of Deputies retract the “congratulations”.

In the US we have seen inspiring examples of unity between Jews and Muslims despite differences of principle over Palestine.

We need similar initiatives in Britain in the run-up to Trump’s state visit.

Rob Ferguson, East London


The Welsh language should be defended

Martin Chapman writes (Letters, 1 March) about the situation in Ysgol Llangennech in Llanelli.

At present the school is “dual stream”. The majority of children receive a bilingual education—Welsh medium with lessons in English.

A declining minority receive a monoglot English medium education. In response to the wishes of the majority of parents, the school will become solely bilingual from September 2017.

The Plaid Cymru-led Camarthen county council made the decision. A small group of Labour councillors campaigned along with Ukip AMs to oppose it.

The village of Llangennech has huge significance in the decades-long struggle for civil rights for Welsh speakers.

Here in the 1950s Eileen Beasley and her husband Trefor were persecuted for refusing to pay council tax bills unless they were issued in Welsh.

Their eventual victory inspired decades of protests and campaigning.

These have led to a modicum of basic legal recognition being granted to the language.

Richard Morse, Torfaen, South Wales


Just a thought


We will fight to save NHS

Huddersfield’s Hands off Huddersfield Royal Infirmary campaigners led the NHS march! We won’t stop until we’ve won!

Mac Andrassy, on Facebook

It is nice to walk side by side with fellow immigrants and the British public to fight against the privatisation of the NHS.

Araial Ilustre, on Facebook

The Tories got Blair in office

Tony Blair got kind of lucky that the Tories went through a few leaders who lacked any charisma or talent (Must Labour move right, 8 March).

Iain Duncan Smith? Labour could’ve stood some unbaked bread dough and still won elections at that point.

Ben Rice, on Facebook

I don’t think it mattered who was leader. The country had had enough of Tory rule.

Brenda Poole, on Facebook

Why I cannot back Labour

I agree with the Socialist Workers Party’s decision to suspend its membership of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (Socialist Worker, 8 March).

However I won’t be voting Labour here in Durham following the council’s treatment of teaching assistants.

If they want votes, ditch the shit councillors and put up proper candidates.

Peter Kelly, on Facebook

Boss beaten over sexism

In my workplace last week I suggested we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD).

Our manager asked if we were going to have an International Men’s Day.

One female workmate replied, “Every day is International Men’s Day”—to raucus laughter.

We ended up celebrating IWD. Workers 1, management 0.

Tim, Norwich


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