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The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade is predicted to have stripped 36 million US women of their right to abortion care, as restrictions to reproductive rights are expected to be triggered across the country.
And while the overturning of Roe v Wade relates to US law, campaigners have warned that UK abortion rights are not safe either.
“The 1967 Abortion Act, and our ability to end a pregnancy, lie in the hands of politicians, and over the past 10 years we have seen a number of parliamentary bids to restrict abortion safely and legally,” explained Katherine O’Brien, associate director at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. “These groups have strong links with their US counterparts, and we would be concerned that they will escalate activity if Roe v Wade is overturned.”
“At any given time, parliament could attempt to restrict women’s access,” another spokesperson for BPAS added, via the Independent. “Over recent years, a number of anti-choice MPs have sought to do just that, and we must be constantly vigilant.”
This week, MP Danny Kruger voiced his thoughts on Roe v Wade and abortion access in the UK, and his controversial comments are a terrifying reminder that we cannot be complacent about our reproductive rights.
“The facts are that I would probably disagree with most members who’ve spoken so far about this question,” the MP announced during a parliamentary debate about the overturning of Roe v Wade. “They think that women have an absolute right of bodily autonomy in this matter, whereas I think in the case of abortion, that right is qualified by the fact that another body is involved.”
As Kruger was challenged by other MPs, he continued: “I would offer to members who are trying to talk me down that this is a proper topic for political debate and my point to the frontbench is I don’t understand why we are lecturing the United States on a judgment to return the power of decision over this political question to the states, to democratic decision-makers, rather than leaving it in the hands of the courts.”
“You think what you see in America couldn’t happen here?”, tweeted Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, following the Supreme Court’s ruling. “Then you don’t understand who is organising in UK politics. No one thought American Supreme Court would ever overturn a right previously granted either… These attacks on women’s rights won’t stop. Be prepared.”
“The most important thing people in the UK can do to support abortion rights is to be loudly, unashamedly pro-choice,” Abortion Support Network founder Mara Clarke told the Independent.
“The anti-abortion population is less than 10 per cent of the UK’s population. We are the pro-choice majority, and we should speak often about not only abortion but about all reproductive health issues.”
We will continue to update this story.