I, like many, stand horrified at the overturning of Roe versus Wade in America last week, seeing abortion made illegal in many US States. This appalling act sees the rights of women everywhere undermined, and their lives made second best.
I don’t care why a woman needs an abortion.
For me, this is not about the horror of becoming pregnant after sexual violence. This is not about the tragedy of a foetus too sick to survive. This is not about an ectopic pregnancy or needing a D & C after an incomplete miscarriage. (All now illegal.)
This is about a woman’s right to choose.
I don’t need to know your story to know that it is your right to choose.
I don’t need to know your history to know that it is your right to have control over your own body.
This is not an argument about the lack of exisiting welfare for women who have children, the lack of affordable maternity care, the lack of maternity leave, the lack of support to raise a child, the loss of opportunities, the loss of education, the forcing women and children into poverty, no matter how they got pregnant.
This is not about all the books that won’t get written, all the careers that won’t happen, all the relationships women will feel trapped in, all the lifes that won’t be lived because women are forced to carry a child they did not or could not want.
This is about a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body.
To her life.
And if you think it will never happen here, just take note of the Tory MP’s cheering along.
Take note of the UK government’s abolition of the Human Rights Act and the curtailing of the European Court of Human rights.
“From the Hillsborough disaster, to the right to a proper Covid inquiry, to the right to challenge the way police investigate endemic violence against women, the Human Rights Act is the cornerstone of people power in this country. It’s no coincidence that the very politicians it holds to account want to see it fatally weakened.” argues Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s chief executive in The Guardian this week.
Removing the rights of people to challenge unfair or prejudicial laws and rulings will affect us all. You can see it in America. First an attack on women’s reproductive freedom, then an attack on contraceptive provision, then LGBTQA+ rights and equal marriage.
And before you say that would never happen here, did you ever think you would live to see women’s rights to bodily autonomy, their right to choose, being made illegal in America?
Did you ever think that Britain, would be sending vulnerable people fleeing war and persecution to Rwanda to be processed? Did you ever think that Britain would lock up people seeking asylum in camps and prisons? Did you ever think that children, vulnerable, frightened, exploited children, arriving in Britain alone, seeking asylum would be sent, not first to foster carers and social services but to be processed at a police station?
My American sisters, I stand with you because with you we stand for all.