Defending women’s right to choose: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

On May 20th, the Commons will debate the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Anti-choice campaigners have proposed a number of reactionary amendments include reducing access to abortion and reducing

Despite anti-choice scaremongering that survival rates have increased under 40 weeks, scientific evidence points to the contrary. On 29th October the Commons Science and Technology Committee published a review of the 1967 Abortion Act. They made three main recommendations:

• Upholding the 24 time week time limit for abortion
• Removing the need for women seeking an abortion to get two doctor’s signatures
• Allowing nurses to perform first trimester abortions

All of these recommendations ensure that women can access the reproductive health care they need with minimal delay. Few women need an abortion beyond the 24 week limit, but evidence shows that those that do are often the most vulnerable, often resulting from rape or for women in situations of domestic violence.

The eight amendments threaten constitutional rights which have been enshrined as women’s rights for forty years. Fortuately the amendments are opposed by 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.

However, it is essential that you support them and stop the amendments going through and attacking the principle and the actuality of women’s right to choose.

Two things you can do:

1) Protest ‘Defend 24 Weeks – no reduction in abortion time limit’

Outside Parliament on 20th May, 5.30pm, Old Palace Yard, opposite St Stephen’s Entrance

Tube: Westminster

2) Consider writing a letter or copying and pasting (changing the names and the name of the constituency) the one I have written below:

Dear Jim Fitzpatrick,

Women’s right to choose, established constitutionally in 1968, heralded a great leap forward for women’s ability to control their fertility and for self-determination over their own bodies.

It is essential that this right is defended. Recent attacks by anti-choice campaigners, made up of the religious right wing threaten the gains won by the women’s movement. The proposed amendment to reduce the limit to between 12 and 20 weeks and an enforced “cooling off” period of two weeks, not only threatens rights, but also puts women in danger, particularly those who are already in danger from domestic violence, lack of access to health care and knowledge about reproductive health.

Contrary to the claims of the anti-choice voice, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that a baby can survive at less than 24 weeks. This was confirmed on 29th October by the Commons Science and Technology Committee published a review of the 1967 Abortion Act. They made three main recommendations:

• Upholding the 24 time week time limit for abortion
• Removing the need for women seeking an abortion to get two doctor’s signatures
• Allowing nurses to perform first trimester abortions

I urge you to support these recommendations in the discussion of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill on 20th May.

This is particularly salient for your constituents in Tower Hamlets, one of the poorest boroughs of London, in which access to healthcare, especially for those for whom English may not be a first language can be a complex, difficult and delayed process.

Yours sincerely,
Kate Hardy

Simply go to http://www.writetothem.com/ and follow the instructions.

One response to “Defending women’s right to choose: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

  1. The protest was fantastic

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