Abortion Rights Blog

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Emergency Protest 20th May – as MPs vote on abortion time limit

ImageTuesday 20 May, 5.30pm

Outside Parliament – Old Palace Yard, opposite St Stephen’s Entrance

Defend 24 Weeks – no reduction in abortion time limit

Tube: Westminster

On Tuesday 20 May Members of Parliament will debate and vote on the anti-abortion amendments to the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill. The key amendments aim to lower the time limit for abortion and must be defeated.

This vote is taking place much earlier than expected and with very little notice. In the limited time available, it is vital that everyone who supports a woman’s right to choose does everything they can to show their opposition to any reduction in the time limit. Please attend this crucial protest – and encourage your trade union, women’s group, student union or other organization to send a presence. Please also write to your MP in advance of 20th to urge them to vote against any amendment to reduce the time limit. A model letter is available at www.abortionrights.org.uk

We say: women must come first. There is no significant scientific or medical support for any reduction in the time limit. Yet a handful of anti-abortionists are using downright propaganda and misinformation, hoping to intimidate and mislead MPs into attacking women’s rights. An overwhelming majority of the public supports the right to choose: MPs should uphold choice and vote down amendments by Nadine Dorries and any anti-abortion MPs.

Less than two per cent of abortions take place after 20 weeks. If successful, a lowering of the abortion time limit would be devastating for a small number of women in difficult, unforeseeable and individual circumstances and would encourage further anti-abortion attacks. Contrary to anti-abortion hype, research shows there has been no increase in survival rates for births under 24 weeks. There is opposition to any lowering of the time limit from the British Medical Association, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, British Association of Perinatal Medicine, Royal College of Nursing, TUC and national trade unions, the Department of Health and MPs across all three major parliamentary political parties.

Write to your MP
Please try to write to, email, phone or visit your MP before this vote to urge them not to vote for any lowering of the abortion time limit. If you wish you can use the model letter on Abortion Rights website or the Abortion Rights postcard.

Funds needed
Abortion Rights urgently needs financial support in organizing this protest and in covering the costs of the campaign that has been organized. You can help by making a donation online or by cheque to ‘Abortion Rights’ and encouraging your organization to do so. You can also help by joining and by your organization affiliating to Abortion Rights.