Thursday, October 16, 2008

Abortion Rights - Protest 21st October

Below is some info I have been sent about the demo ahead of the Report stage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill on 22nd October:

Tuesday 21st October - 5.30pm onwards
For a woman's right to choose
Emergency protest to show the strength of pro-choice opinion ahead of the final abortion votes in Parliament

Old Palace Yard, outside Parliament, St Stephen's entrance

The protest has been called to oppose further anti-abortion attempts to drive back women's fundamental rights and support the first Parliamentary opportunity in a generation to improve the law for women and extend rights to Northern Ireland.

All pro-choice supporters welcome!
Please bring your friends, colleagues and banners

It has now been confirmed that the final votes on abortion at the Report stage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill will take place on 22nd October. The votes are expected in the afternoon. This protest has been called at short notice to ensure that MPs and the media feel the strength of pro-choice opinion ahead of these crucial votes. Please encourage your trade union, women's group, student union or other organisation to come along.

Despite a strong vote in Parliament against restrictions in women's abortion rights on 20th May 2008, anti-abortionists will try to impose 'cooling off' delays, counselling on women and severely restrict the grounds for requesting an abortion.

40 years after the enactment of the 1967 Abortion Act, women need improved rights to end current widespread obstruction and delays when accessing services. We are supporting the calls of women in Northern Ireland for rights to be extended there.

Write to your MP
If you haven't already, now is the time to write to, email, phone or visit your MP in advance of the vote on 22nd October. A model letter and information on how to identify and contact your MP is available on the campaign website

I attended the meeting at the House of Commons the other week and its crucial we support the amendments to improve access and remove the obstacles for women. It was made clear that the ability to add positive amendments to a Government Bill doesn't come along very often . Also if the next House of Commons does have a Tory majority , or at least more of them, its highly likely rights will be under further attack given how the parties tend to vote on this issue.

Do please contact your MPs and argue both for the defence of what we have and the positive amendments. There is more info on the Abortion Rights site about the amendments.

I also received this e mail update :

There are rumours that the Government are proposing to table a Programme motion which will mean that it is highly unlikely for none of the positive pro-choice amendments can be discussed. It is very urgent that the unions (and union’s members) lobby the Government not to do this. Any press and publicity that can be created would be very welcomed.

So even more important to keep the pressure on.