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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Forty Days of Choice

Posted: Fri, 02 Mar 2012 13:53

Forty Days of Choice

The Christian anti-abortion group 40 Days for Life are celebrating Lent by picketing abortion clinics, spreading misinformation and generally making life difficult for clinic staff and women using their services.

Last year, pro-choice groups ran a counter-campaign called 40 Days of Treats, which you can read about here. This time, there is an online campaign offering positive ways for pro-choice supporters to counter anti-abortion activity and clinic protests. Each day will see suggestions for small, positive steps to increase awareness of abortion rights and advocate for better access to reproductive health services.

If you are pro-choice, you can find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved here. It's particularly important to offer support at the moment because a cross-party group of MPs is considering letting anti-abortion groups offer publicly funded services.

The cross-party group was set up after the Government said it would look at ways of incorporating the spirit of Nadine Dorries MP's proposals into new regulations. Nadine Dorries, a Christian MP, wants women to see 'independent' counsellors before they have an abortion, not go to abortion providers like Marie Stopes International or the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. It has been reported that she even opposes the idea that counsellors should clearly state their views on abortion. You can read our coverage of her proposals and their defeat in Parliament here and here.

Pro-choice organisations say the Government is trying to introduce radical changes to abortion laws by the back door. Last month, the shadow health minister Diane Abbott walked out of the cross-party group, claiming it was a front to push an anti-abortion agenda without debate in Parliament. Opinion polls consistently show the majority of people support a woman's right to choose, and this support cuts across lines of faith and politics.

Tags: Reproductive Rights