Last Friday evening I joined seven hundred other pro-choice protesters outside the BPAS clinic in central London at an event organised by the Bloomsbury Prochoice Alliance and supported by Abortion Rights UK to mark the end of 40 days of choice.
The protest was called to counter the month-long action by anti-choice group ’40 Days for Life’ outside the clinic and to expose the tactics being used by this group – tactics that mirror the frightening US trend where women are harassed and intimidated as they attend abortion clinics.
I turned out on a Friday night and I’m part of the pro-choice majority because I believe that a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body is a basic human right – a woman cannot truly be equal in society if she does not have basic reproductive rights.
But this harassment of women accessing legal abortion services by fringe groups is not the only attack women face. The political climate is such that there are moves by some MPs not to simply restrict access but also moves by some involved with the Department of Health’s consultation on the abortion counselling framework to change abortion counselling laws. These people are using their position to push proposals to strip abortion providers of their role in counselling patients and to allow anti-choice organisations to offer pre-abortion advice in their place.
We’re at a crucial juncture for a women’s right to choose and I believe women of the left need to be the vanguard to defeating these constant attacks. This is why I was there last week, and why I’ll be there fighting the attacks to come to show women who make the decision to have an abortion that their choice is respected and that their right to do so will always be defended. It is also why other women who feel the same need to join the fight too.
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