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Pro-choice protest pans ‘March for Life’ bigots

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Issue 2603
Part of the Abortion Rights UK protest in Parliament Square
Part of the Abortion Rights UK protest in Parliament Square (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Abortion Rights campaigners protested against a march by anti-choice ­bigots in central London last Saturday.

Some 4,000 anti-abortion protesters joined a national demonstration organised by “March for Life”—a group with roots in the US.

Its US sister organisation is against abortion, contraception and sex education, and is backed by president Donald Trump.

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Over 100 people from the Abortion Rights campaign held a counter-protest.

They chanted “Pro?life, that’s a lie—you don’t care if women die” as the anti-choice march passed them into Parliament Square.

Protester Kass told Socialist Worker, “That organisation is hiding a misogynistic and moralistic view behind a ­purported pro-family, ‘pro?life’ stance.”

She added that it is important to resist the ­constant attempts to roll back a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

“We can’t be complacent,” she said. “We have to listen to the stories of women in the 1960s who faced the trauma of backstreet abortions. If we’re complacent, these people will take us back 50 years.”

Another protester, Rachel, pointed to the Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities Bill) currently going through the House of Lords.

This would allow any medical staff—including pharmaceutical and admin workers—to refuse to take part in any work that even indirectly relates to an abortion. Currently the law allows just doctors and nurses to refuse to take part in abortion procedures.

Rachel said this would make it much harder for women to access abortions.

“For women living in remote rural areas, you may not get a choice,” she said.

She added that the bill was “The 46th attempt to abolish the right to an abortion since the 1967 Abortion Act was passed 50 years ago”.

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Sofiya said that, if passed, the bill would be a major attack on a woman’s right to choose.

“It’s huge. It allows other people to make such a massive decision about your body,” she said.

The protest was also joined by campaigners from Ireland.

They are part of a mass movement to repeal the 8th Amendment that outlaws abortion there.

A national referendum on repealing the Amendment is set to take place on Friday 25 May.

Annie Hoey from the Together for Yes campaign spoke to Socialist Worker. “There’s a huge amount of momentum behind the yes campaign,” she said.

“It’s got support from so many people from all walks of life—all saying enough is enough.”

More information is available at the Abortion Rights website

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