By Sophie Squire
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2871

Protesters on the streets to defend abortion rights

Four women in the last eight months have been prosecuted in Britain for having an abortion
Issue 2871
Protestors stood behind two abortion rights banners with pro-choice placards

Pro-choice activists on the abortion rights protest at Parliament Square in London (Picture: Socialist Worker)

Around 500 pro-choice supporters confronted bigots who took part in an anti-abortion march in London on Saturday. 

Thousands joined the anti-abortion march, which happens every year. They were boosted by recent anti-choice prosecutions in Britain and restrictive laws across the world. 

Protester Amity told Socialist Worker that anti-choice bigots are growing more confident. “I saw a lot of angry, mostly men, on their side. It’s shocking, as I’ve never been on one of these counter-demonstrations before. 

“But I guess it’s not a surprise that some of the right is rallying around anti-abortion hate.”

Four women in the last eight months have been prosecuted in Britain for allegedly carrying out their own abortions. 

The courts have used the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861, which made it illegal to procure your abortion. 

Protester Bonnie attended the demonstration with her daughter.  She told Socialist Worker, “These bigots will do everything to shame women and to make us feel bad.

“It’s the same for the mainstream media. Whenever you read something about a woman who was arrested for getting an abortion, you will never get the full story. There’ll be no sympathy for these women, only shame. 

“There are many different reasons why women are forced to get an abortion or choose to have one.”  

Kerry Abel, chair of Abortion Rights, told the crowd, “It’s been just over a year since the overturning of Roe v Wade in the United States, and we’re back again. 

“Since then we’ve heard the stories of rape victims forced to cross state lines to access abortion.

“Services are being made less available here in Britain as well. GPs are telling women and pregnant people that they have to wait to get an abortion. The antis have been emboldened by all this.” 

But Kerry added that pro-choice activists must remember we are in the majority. “I’ve been speaking across the country, including to unions. It reminded me that we aren’t alone,” she said.

“I recently spoke to a group of train drivers. Mostly older men, they understood why we must fight for abortion rights.” 

As protesters faced the bigots, they chanted, “When abortion rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back” and “Not the church, not the state, women will decide their fate.” 

Student Leila added, “Abortion on demand is a human right. At my university, there is an anti-choice student society. Its members feel really confident to push their hate on campus. 

“We can’t let that happen, so I’m also here to stand against our government, who are allowing women to be persecuted for accessing abortions. 

“My grandmother has told me stories about working as a nurse before decriminalisation. We can’t go back to the horror of backstreet abortions. 

“We have to be ready to fight. Every right we have been given can be taken anyway from us.” 

Sign up for our daily email update ‘Breakfast in Red’

Latest News

Make a donation to Socialist Worker

Help fund the resistance