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Last month women and men across Britain celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act.

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Introduction

Last month women and men across Britain celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act. The passage of this act was the biggest ever step forward for a woman's right to choose in this country. Millions of women died from back street abortions before this law, countless others suffered hideous medical complications, including sterility. However, even though women in Britain today will not die because they need an abortion, the situation is far from perfect. The 1967 Act does not give women the right to choose but leaves us dependent on the whims and prejudices of the medical profession. Two doctors must give their consent before a termination can take place. When the Act was passed Britain became one of the most progressive countries in the world in terms of abortion legislation. ...read more.

Middle

With deepening cuts and over stretched resources the situation is becoming worse - even in places that used to have decent facilities women are having to wait an unacceptably long time. The Labour government has thrown two seemingly large sums of money at the Health Service but they will be nothing like enough to avert a deepening crisis including in abortion provision - often seen as a 'non-essential' service. The National Union of Students Women's campaign called a demonstration In London to mark the anniversary of the Act. Three hundred turned out on a bitterly cold winter's evening. Unfortunately the event was not wholeheartedly supported by the National Abortion Campaign (NAC) - if it had been it would have been significantly bigger. ...read more.

Conclusion

Of course it should be the case that these changes are brought forward not by an individual member of the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs but by the Labour government itself. Blair shows no signs of doing this and neither do any of the new women Labour MPs elected in May. If the fight to improve the law is to be successful then women and their supporters will need to take to the streets in their thousands. Alongside this we need to demand that Labour ensures that every Health Authority is obliged to provide adequate facilities for women who need abortions. Recent opinion polls show that the majority of people support a woman's right to choose. We need to organise to ensure that that support is turned into active and effective campaigning. ...read more.

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