The past week has seen pro-choice supporters across the globe mark International Day for Safe Legal Abortion in a range of ways. Here’s a round up of the action.
A message to you, Jeremy: on Friday, UK Feminista and Abortion Rights decided to pay the new Secretary of State for Health a visit and tell him to keep his hands off our right to choose. Activists presented the Department of Health with hundreds of coathangers to remind Mr Hunt – who would like to see the abortion time limit reduced to 12 weeks – of the terrible consequences for women’s health when abortion is restricted.
Action on Abortion: it was great to see so many pro-choice supporters join us at our Action on Abortion demo at Westminster on Saturday. In spite of our serious message – an end to harassment of women outside abortion clinics, rights for women in Northern Ireland and global decriminalisation of abortion – it was a fun and friendly affair (as ever) with pro-choicers of all ages, including babies and dogs!
The event kicked off with Abortion Rights vice-chair Kate Smurthwaite talking about the global impact of lack of access to safe abortion – particularly the annual 47,000 woman death toll.
We heard Jennifer Reiter from the Abortion Support Network describe the suffering experienced by Irish women – from north and south of the border – as they struggle to access safe abortion.
Natalie Bennett, the newly elected Green Party leader, spoke out about harassment by anti-choice protesters at clinics and her party’s commitment to a woman’s right to choose and we heard Kelley Temple, NUS National Women’s officer pledge the support of the student movement to abortion rights.
Carolynne, from Brighton Pro-Choice and the Red Rag Campaign, talked about the appalling tactics and misinformation coming from Abort67 anti-choice protesters in Brighton – and gave us a quick fact or fiction mythbusting session too.
We also heard some powerful testimonies of women who had experienced the horrors of backstreet abortion in the UK and beyond.
We finished with a great photo opp – five women dressed as convicts (complete with ball-and-chains!) – to highlight the fact that abortion remains a criminal offence around the world and that on our own doorstep women in Northern Ireland face life imprisonment for seeking an abortion. The ‘convicts’ were presented with a paper chain, from UK Feminista’s Elli Moody, made from pro-choice letters to the new Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt written by UK Feminista Summer School activists recently.
Many thanks to everyone who came along and helped out – especially our speakers and ‘prisoners’.
Dundee street action: feminists and pro-choicers got together in Dundee town centre on Saturday too, to raise awareness of abortion rights issues in the UK and globally
March for Choice: up to 5,000 pro-choice supporters marched through the streets of Dublin on Saturday – an amazing turn out, and by the looks of these photos a brilliant day for abortion rights in Ireland.