Genitals and Ladymen: we are mobilising. Having been up all night writing leaflets for Feminist Fightback, here’s our stance on pro-choice, a la Pennyred, which will be handed out at various freezing demos over the next few weeks. For those of you who’d rather stay in and stroke the laptop (a very fine plan) here it is in black, white and reddish-pink:
Defend and extend abortion rights.
We believe – no, we know -that women deserve choice. Hard won reproductive freedoms for which previous generations of women have fought are currently facing serious threat. Anti-choice campaigners are using the issue of the time limit to launch their attack on all our reproductive rights. Restricting late abortions will be an initial step towards further limitation of access to our vitally important right to terminate pregnancy legally. In the UK only 1% of abortions are carried out after 22 weeks. Those who do seek terminations after this time are often the most vulnerable of women- young girls, women who did not know they were pregnant and non-english speakers. Abortion legislation needs to be based upon the right to reproductive freedom rather than on tenuous debates about foetal viability.
The pro-choice majority needs to make its voice heard. The anti-choice lobby is becoming increasingly vocal and aggressive in its attacks on women’s rights. In October 2007 they marched through London chanting ‘Women Have a Right to Keep their Legs Shut’, yet still claiming to believe that ‘women deserve better’. We believe that women deserve freedom. The pro-choice majority needs to mobilise a mass movement to show that we are not willing to turn back the clock on reproductive freedoms. We need to do more than simply lobby in parliament: we must get out on the streets and remind people why women will always need access to safe, legal abortions. Feminist Fightback supports proposals in parliament to increase access to terminations early on in a pregnancy but this should not be passed at the cost of restrictions on the time limit. We will countenance no compromise on reproductive freedoms!
We oppose any reduction in the 24-week time limit for access to abortion.
We demand the right to abortion on request (ending the stipulation that a woman get the consent of 2 doctors) up to the legal time limit. We demand that abortion be integrated into the NHS as an ordinary medical service. We demand an end to privatisation and fragmentation in the NHS: increased public funding to guarantee free and equal access abortion. And we demand the extension of abortion rights to women in Northern Ireland.
And that’s not all we fussy, selfish women want for ourselves and our daughters. We want improved access to and increased choice of publicly funded contraception. We want honest, comprehensive and confidential sexuality and relationship education for all children, addressing issues of consent and of domestic violence. Most of all, we want a real ‘right to choose’ – this includes the right to have a child free from economic and social pressure. This will require a real living wage for all workers, benefits which can finance a decent standard of living and which rise with earnings, universal publicly funded childcare and an end to the stigmatisation of single mothers.
-and we’d like it soon, with ribbons on and possibly a flask of hot tea, because it’s getting a bit nippy out here. Thanks.
Feminist Fightback is a multi-aligned, cross-generational organisation working towards defending and extending the rights, welfare and social freedom of women everywhere. For more information about Feminist Fightback, or to offer your support, visit http://www.feministfightback.org.uk.