TAKE A STAND AGAINST THE EROSION OF ABORTION RIGHTS IN THE UK
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As you may have heard, one of the first things on the agenda of the unholy Tory-DUP alliance, may well be an attack on abortion rights. This is chilling news: even if it is a reduction of time limit, this opens the door to further chipping away abortion rights.
In Northern Ireland, abortion is still illegal. Women are convicted for self-administering medical abortions–which they have to do because they have no legal access to services. They must travel to England at a cost of thousands of pounds for an abortion–and they do. Homes are raided by police in case women have abortion pills, with raids even occurring on International Women’s Day!
This is what the DUP want for everyone with a uterus in the rest of the UK, and they are now in a position to try to make this happen.
And so, we need to get mobilising now to ensure that our abortion rights are not in any way reduced. In fact, as an additional finger to the DUP, we could use the opportunity of a vote on abortion rights to further strengthen what exists in the country as a whole.
We urge you to write to your MP, voicing your outrage and concern using our template below.
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A BACKGROUND ON ABORTION LAW IN THE UK
There are two particular legal quirks which make abortion rights in Northern Ireland almost non-existent, and also very fragile in the rest of the UK. In the whole of the UK, abortion is illegal under the Offences Against the Person Act (1861). Yes, I did mean to type “the whole of the UK”. Abortion is technically illegal on every part of this rainy fascism archipelago, under a law that is over a century and a half old. In England, Scotland and Wales, the Abortion Act (1967) sets out specific circumstances under which abortions will not be prosecuted. This means that as long as an abortion is playing by the rules from the 1967 Act, it’s still a criminal offence, but not going to mean you or your doctor will be prosecuted for it.
In Northern Ireland, the Abortion Act (1967) does not apply, most abortions are still a criminal offence which you and your doctor can still be prosecuted for, and could be imprisoned for. The Northern Ireland situation is particularly horrific. Labour’s manifesto promised to make the Abortion Act apply in the country.
This is a good place to start, but the criminal situation of abortion in the whole of the UK is in itself dangerous, particularly if there are anti-abortion womb-botherers pulling the strings of government.
So, if the DUP want a vote on abortion rights, there’s no time like the present to begin organising for fairer, safer abortion rights for anyone with a uterus in the whole of the UK. It’s time to talk about two key issues, make these problems visible. It’s also a good time to our MPs to table these as amendments if this vote does indeed come to pass:
- Applying the Abortion Act (1967) to Northern Ireland.
- Fully decriminalising abortion in the entirety of the UK. (note: MPs have won a right to bring a bill to Parliament proposing this, but nothing has come of it yet.)
WRITE TO YOUR MP
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Free free to personalise the above, detailing why the issue matters to you, personally, as their constituent. If your MP writes back to you telling you that actually they don’t mind these inequalities, then here’s a few template letters for your reply.
We also need to support activists in Ireland and Northern Ireland alike, like the Repeal the 8th campaign, Alliance for Choice, Belfast Feminist Network, as well as support groups such as Abortion Support Network, who provide support for travelling to England for abortions–if you’re in NI or Ireland and need an abortion, they can help you.
We weren’t expecting to have to fight this battle again, so quickly. But we're ready, and we stand with Northern Ireland and Ireland, and we resist any attack on our uteruses.
SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD AND SEND IT
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Postcards and letters intended for Theresa May can be sent to:
Mrs. Theresa May
10 Downing Street,
or email her HERE
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