Maria Miller, appointed by David Cameron as Women’s Minister in his Cabinet reshuffle, has lived up to the worst fears of feminists by today’s call to reduce the time limit for abortion to 20 weeks.
Miller claims to be doing so on the basis that ‘medical science has moved on’. But as pro-choice organizations have quickly pointed out this is a myth. Sexual health charities Brook and FPA rushed out a press release in which Julie Bentley, Chief Executive FPA, said:
‘We firmly believe in following the scientific evidence. Recent examinations of the issue, clearly shows there is no evidence to support a reduction in the abortion time limit. This view is supported across the medical community by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Nursing and the British Association of Perinatal Medicine. We’re extremely disappointed that a Women’s Minister should be misinformed in this matter’.
In fact anti-abortionists have always used the question of time limits and the question of when a foetus might possibly become viable to undermine the fundamental principle that for women it is our bodies, our lives, our right to decide. Millers proposals echo those of fellow Tory MP Nadine Dorries who introduced a bill attacking women’s existing rights in 2008.
Supporters of women’s rights need to step up our support for Abortion Rights – see http://www.abortionrights.org.uk/ Become and individual member and get your trade union to affiliate. This issue is unlikely to go away and we need to step up the fightback