Monday, 26 June 2017

The Government must show it is not willing to use women’s bodies as bargaining chips

Walthamstow CLP women's officer Jade Azim has written in support of the Queen's Speech amendment to secure equal treatment under the NHS in England for women who live in Northern Ireland (more here on this blog). In inews - the online tabloid newspaper from the Independent group - she writes:

"Last week’s Queen’s Speech was delivered by a government that has dragged the DUP – who have wreaked havoc for women and LGBTQ people in Northern Ireland – into the mainstream of British politics. It could be an era in which women’s reproductive rights come under attack – if we let it. 

"But there is nothing more powerful than a group of determined sisters. Stella Creasy MP, supported by progressive MPs and activists from British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas) and UK Friends of Planned Parenthood (UKFPP) are working to do the opposite: use this moment in time –in the 50th anniversary year of the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act – to extend the enshrined rights of women in mainland Britain to Northern Irish women, by tabling an amendment to the Queen’s Speech that would extend NHS cover for abortion procedures to Northern Irish women. 

"The law cuts out the poorest women. Currently, Northern Irish women often have to travel to England to terminate unwanted pregnancies, facing distress and considerable costs that can lock out the poorest women. More than 700 women and girls from Northern Ireland travelled to England in 2016 to access abortion clinics. For many of these women, this journey is desperately expensive. A recent court case was brought to the Supreme Court – narrowly being overturned – by a woman who travelled to England with her mother when she was 15 for an abortion in Manchester. It cost her £900. That’s a £900 price tag on services other British women can rightfully access freely."

Jade is also organiser for UK Friends of Planned Parenthood. She worked with Stella Creasy on the amendment to the Queen’s Speech tabled to call for women from Northern Ireland to have access to free abortions in England.

Read the full article by Jade Azim here
Read Stella Creasy MP in the Guardian here
Contact your MP to support the amendment: My Pledge Her Choice

"Let’s make this moment in British politics a positive one for women’s rights."

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