ACTION: Abortion Rights: Campaign Update: October 2012

From email:

It’s time limit time again

Every couple of years, regular as clockwork, politicians start calling for the abortion time limit to be reduced. As we haven’t had a vote on the issue since MPs comprehensively rejected attempts to restrict access in 2008 (four whole years ago!) it was no surprise that the time limit reared its head again, just before the start of the Conservative Party conference. What is particularly concerning though is that it is the newly appointed Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the Minister for Women and Equalities Maria Miller who have led the charge, reaffirming their support for a 12 and 20 week time limit respectively. Other senior figures have been quick to jump on the bandwagon – Theresa May opting for 20 weeks and David Cameron voicing his support for a ‘modest decrease’ in the time limit. SNP Health Secretary Alex Neil echoed their views, and cheerfully added that he was ‘relaxed’ at the possibility of women being forced to cross the border to access abortion if the time limit in an independent Scotland was lower than in England.

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.

More after the jump.

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ACTION: News and Events from Abortion Rights

On email:

Abortion Rights NewsWelcome to our Autumn Update: as ever there’s a lot to catch up on – reshuffles, debates, demos and trials – and lots for us to do. We’re particularly excited about our upcoming protest, but before we start a quick reminder: it only takes a minute to join or donate to Abortion Rights. Your support will really make a difference to our campaign.

It’s time for Action on Abortion!

On Saturday 29th September UK pro-choicers will be out in force to call for Action on Abortion.

Alongside women in Belfast, Dublin and around the world, we’ll be marking the International Day for the Decriminalisation of Abortion by calling for rights for women in Northern Ireland and global legalisation of abortion.

And as we head towards another anti-choice 40 Days for Life campaign, we’ll be demanding an end to the harassment of women outside abortion clinics.

After a week in which we have seen the appalling Abort67 given the green light to continue with their aggressive campaign in Brighton (see below), now is the time to make some noise on this crucial issue.

So grab your banners and get yourself down to Old Palace Yard, opposite the Visitors Entrance to Parliament at 2pm on Saturday 29th September. We’d love to see you.

Find out more and download a flyer for the event.

Get involved! We want to make the 29th a national day of action too. So why not set up your own action in your home town? Earlier this year enterprising pro-choicers around the country told one of our least favourite anti-choice groups to SPUC Off! – and it was a huge success. All you need is a few mates, a few placards and a facebook event page.

We’ll help you publicise your event on twitter (we’re using the hashtag #ActionOnAbortion) and on our website. Just email or tweet us your plans and we’ll help to spread the word. There are plans afoot for events in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee but we need more! Be part of a global campaign for Action on Abortion!

More after the jump.

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