Over 200 people packed into to the first public meeting of the campaign to defend the present time limit for abortion. The meeting, on Wednesday of last week, was called by the group Abortion Rights.
There has been a sustained attempt, led by sections of the media as well as right wing MPs and commentators, to create an atmosphere for laws to reduce the present time limit. Yet less than 2 percent of abortions take place after 20 weeks and 90 percent take place in the first 12 weeks.
The meeting brought together trade unionists, students, medical and sexual health workers, MPs, members of the House of Lords, women’s groups and pro-choice activists.
It attracted a new generation of young activists as well as women who had campaigned to win the 1967 Abortion Act and end back-street abortion, .
There was a real mood in the meeting that an attack on the time limit was the first step in an attack on abortion rights in general.
The meeting heard from Melody Drnach about the 500,000 strong US campaign National Organisation of Women.
Drnach highlighted the strong parallels between the US and British anti-abortion lobby strategies, both cynically focussing on later abortion in order to attack women’s right to choose.
Diana Holland, T&G union organiser for women, and Jo Salmon, NUS women’s officer, offered enthusiastic and practical support for the campaign.
Abortion Rights is currently printing leaflets and a model motion. Get your union branch to affiliate to the campaign.
Go to www.abortionrights.org.uk for more information