On 22 October, MPs will vote on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. As well as several anti-choice, anti-women amendments, there are real opportunities to extend abortion rights — including access to abortion for women in Northern Ireland, an end to the two doctor rule, increasing the pool of abortion practitioners, allowing more local abortion services and banning misleading advertising.
Feminist Fightback are focusing on the extension of abortion rights to Northern Ireland, where currently it is illegal to have an abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. Working class women suffer the most. As well as having to fund travel abroad, the procedure is £600, which means some women are forced to bear children against their will. Cathleen O’Neill of Alliance for Choice explains: “If I had a pound for every fundraiser I worked on to help working class women go to England for an abortion, I’d be a rich woman… Almost every other week. It’s bad enough for those who can afford to travel, but for poorer women it’s hell. It’s time those who claim to represent us to get a grip on reality and take steps to end this nightmare”.
We will be taking direct action in London, at the same time as Alliance for Choice activists in Belfast, to heap on pressure to ensure our sisters in Northern Ireland have access to the same abortion rights as women in England, Scotland and Wales.
• Protest: 7.30am-9am Monday 20 October. Get in touch: 07976 274516 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
• Other Feminist Fightback actions: www.feministfightback.org.uk.
• The Abortion Rights campaign have called a protest outside Parliament before the final votes on the amendements. Tuesday 21 October, from 5.30pm onwards. www.abortionrights.org.uk.