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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Women’s Equality Party launches abortion decriminalisation campaign

21 November 2016

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women's Equality Party says limiting abortion "is a form of violence against women". Image: Suki Dhanda for the Observer

A new campaign to push for abortion to be removed from the justice statutes and decriminalised is to be launched this month.

The campaign is a flagship policy for the Women's Equality Party, which holds its first conference in Manchester next weekend. Leader Sophie Walker said that abortion should be made a "sexual health and human rights issue" not "left languishing under Victorian criminal law". She went on to say that "if you are denied control over your own body then you are denied so many other controls over your life. Any denial of reproductive rights is a form of violence against women".

Dawn Purvis, former Progressive Unionist Party leader and a member of Marie Stopes International’s advisory board, is to give a keynote speech at the conference.

Fiorella Nash, SPUC researcher and expert on pro-life feminism, said "The Women's Equality Party's abortion fundamentalism is rather at odds with its claim that 'we stand for every woman, and we start by listening'. Perhaps the Women's Equality Party could start by listening to the views of women who see abortion for what it is: a barbaric procedure which exploits women and destroys innocent life. The fight for full equality for women is far from over, but abortion is a symptom of the continuing injustices faced by women not a sign of empowerment."

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Comments (3)


    21 November 2016, 10:01pm

    The Women’s Equality Party claims that the Abortion Act is being ignored – and we know only too well that it is, most notoriously in the case of sex-selective abortion – so why must it be abolished? A ‘woman’s right’ will be used to abort baby girls – and will the Care Quality Commission take action to protect women by closing them down, as recently happened?
    They claim that 1 in three women will have an abortion, ignoring the fact that, sadly, a small proportion of women will have more than one abortion.

    Recently, a woman described the dismay of her male partners on being told that she would not countenance abortion – they were worried that they would not have a right to choose if she became pregnant. In fact, ‘repeat abortion’ benefits irresponsible men, because girls and women traumatised by abortion often behave promiscuously, becoming pregnant again but aborting again because they fear to confront the reality of what has happened to them and their unborn babies. The maternal instinct continually reasserts itself only to be repeatedly thwarted. Abortion has not only created the disposable baby but also the disposable woman.

    They employ the familiar argument about a woman’s right to do what she likes with her own body – but there is another body involved, which is not hers. And why is this ‘right’ a negative one that infringes on another’s right to life?

    The WEP sees this issue as the most important for women; but how will it help older women? By helping our daughters to abort our grandchildren? Most older women would not appreciate that sort of ‘help’.

    It implies that a woman is an inferior sort of man, who only needs the same ‘right’ as men – to walk away from an unwanted pregnancy – to achieve equality. But women cannot ‘walk away’ from a dead child, and, predictably, the WEP fails to allude to post-abortive psychological pain.

    Dawn Purvis of Marie Stopes International, which, we are told ‘provides contraception and safe abortion services’, apparently sees no irony in demanding no legal regulation of abortion in an age of ‘the so-called “abortion pill”’; neither does she see any irony in demanding abortion for everything, including not only ‘[r]ape or incest’ but also ‘foetal abnormality’ , making clear that they are not interested in equality for disabled people, or pursuing true justice for women suffering sexual assault. Indeed, the issue of rape has become a useful weapon in the abortion wars; with abortion presented as some sort of panacea for rape, there is no incentive to protect women from sexual assault.

    Labour MP Diana Johnson, we are told, intends to bring in a Bill sidelining the law governing abortion, leaving ‘medical procedures to be governed by clinicians, rather than the criminal law’, seemingly on the grounds that any law passed in 1861 ‘needs looking at carefully’. So she wants not a ‘woman’s right to choose’ but ‘clinicians and health experts’ to be empowered instead. That would put even more pressure on women who wish to continue a pregnancy.

    The WEP states that ‘women’s healthcare rights are human rights’, thus turning the right to kill into a human right, and they employ euphemisms, ‘sexual health and wellbeing’ – the very opposite of what abortion offers.

    Despite demanding unrestricted abortion, the WEP fails to describe what abortion actually is – as well they might. It might just wipe out any support they claim to enjoy.

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  • Christine Conlon

    22 November 2016, 6:00pm

    Congratulations to Fiorella Nash for her comments!
    Sophie walker should understand that abortion is an extreme act of violence against a woman's body and causes a violent death to her baby.

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  • Michael Petek

    24 November 2016, 9:33pm

    As long as the International Criminal Court Act 2001 remains on the statute book, abortion - including its decriminalisation - is a crime against humanity of murder, to the same extent that it was a crime contrary to paragraph 218 of the German Criminal Code during WW2. This judgement leads to the conclusion that the Women's Equality Party is exactly comparable to the SS as a criminal organisation.

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