It’s time limit time again
Ministers have been quick to point out that they are expressing their personal views, and to stress that there are no government plans for legislation on the time limit. But Jeremy Hunt is ultimately responsible for all the UK’s abortion services and Miller is supposed to be the voice of women in government. Their views carry weight and when they fail to support access to a key women’s health service it is cause for real concern. Most of our readers will already know that the new medical evidence cited by ministers to support their desired time limit reduction does not exist. The current arrangements are supported by the UK’s major medical bodies and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has issued a statement emphasising the importance of retaining the 24 week limit. What this episode tells us though, is that restricting abortion via a cut in the time limit is back on the table in a major way. There may be no immediate plans to change the law, but it is highly likely that there will be an attempt to cut the limit before the next general election in 2015. It also tells us that if ministers think that there is any sort of consensus on the need to reduce the time limit or that they can do without much fuss, then they are seriously underestimating the extent of pro-choice feeling in this country. Their comments have caused lasting outrage. Abortion Rights saw a huge jump in twitter followers and an influx of new members following Hunt’s comments. We’ll need their support – and yours – to help us win the coming fight. So if you’re not already a member, please make sure you join or donate to Abortion Rights today.
Abortion provider Bpas has launched a new advocacy campaign to highlight the myths and stigma which surround abortions and the women who have them. The No More Names initiative emphasises that we all know the kind of women who have faced unwanted pregnancy and decided abortion is right for them, for reasons as individual as they are. They are mothers, daughters, sisters and friends – and they must be able access the care they need, when they need it. The campaign will run on billboards across London in King’s Cross, London Bridge, Waterloo, Marylebone and Victoria stations. It will also run in train stations in Manchester and Leeds, and more than 1m emails will be sent nationwide. Read more about this brilliant and much needed campaign here.
Action on Abortion
Marie Stopes opens Belfast abortion clinic
News from Scotland
Abortion Rights is also supporting the STUC A Future that Works demonstration in Glasgow on Saturday 20th October, to highlight concerns about cuts on women’s services, employment opportunities, and choices. If you would like an Abortion Rights T-shirt for the march, or can help with some leafleting, let us know. Meet at George Square, Glasgow, Sat 20th October, 11am. And of course we’ll be supporting the TUC’s Future that Works march in London on that day too. We know that loads of you will already be going, but if you fancy wearing one of out T-shirts then let us know!<
In the light of the time limit comments from Jeremy Hunt & co, now is a great time to lobby your MP on the importance of safe, legal abortion across the UK – including in Northern Ireland. Abortion rights is one of the topics being highlighted at UK Feminista’s first Feminist Lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 24th October. Have a look at this short film from UK Feminista to learn more about why women will be speaking up for their rights in Parliament next week and sign up to take part here.