Diane Abbott raises concerns about an anti-abortion vigil in London

28 Mar 2012
Diane Abbott, Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, comments on the anti-abortion vigil on Friday 30 March 2012 Bedford Square at 7.00pm:

‘Clearly, this vigil is both a statement of intent about the government’s forthcoming abortion counselling consultation, and also a show of strength after the support these groups have received from the Department of Health and their friends in the media. Anyone following the trajectory of anti-abortion campaigning in the United States would understand where the anti-abortion movement in the UK is learning its lessons. I think women and families across the country will be in a state of shock and confusion at the position the government is taking on this issue.

‘The inescapable truth for groups like this and the Department of Health is that women in this country want to have choice over their fertility and that is a basic human right. It is crucial that we maintain women’s access to impartial, non-directive and clinical information on pregnancy choices. At the moment, there is a duty for women to be fully informed about the choices available to her – including alternatives to an abortion.

‘This consultation was not initiated by medical organisations or experts. The amendment that led to this consultation was proposed by a MP who has acknowledged her stated intention of reducing the abortion rate. The same MP has previously called for mandatory counselling, mandatory ‘cooling off period’, a reduction in the abortion time limit and is a close ally of others who would seek an outright ban on abortion.’

‘If the government is successful in pushing the care of women seeking an abortion into the hands of anti-choice providers, my concern is that we will see problems increase greatly.’


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