1) There has been no improvement in the survival rates of infants born before the 24-week time limit during the past decade, according to the British Medical Association.
2) Last autumn, the Commons Science and Technology Committee of MPs found no medical basis for a change in the law.
3) Research shows that lowering the time limit does nothing to lower the number of abortions taking place.
4) There are many far better ways to reduce the number of late-term abortions. People who object to late-term abortions should be fighting to make early abortions easier to access and to increase the availability of proper sex education, and access to contraceptives.
5) No contraception is foolproof, and anyone can find themselves pregnant against their will; until foolproof contraception is available, legal pregnancy termination up to 24 weeks will remain necessary.
6) Some vulnerable women need late-term abortions because severe abnormalities in pregnancy, such as Edwards syndrome, are rarely identified until 20-21 weeks. Reducing the time limit would force some women to carry severely impaired or dying fetuses to term – a horrific experience.
7) Some vulnerable women need late-term abortions because an abrupt change in personal circumstances – such as domestic violence, which often escalates in pregnancy – leaves them unable to continue with the pregnancy.
8) Some vulnerable women do not realise that they are pregnant until later in the pregnancy, because they are taking contraceptives, because they are menopausal, or because their periods do not stop. Young women in particular may also go into denial, a serious psychological phenomenon, before they find the courage to approach their GP.
9) Even taking these cases into account, only a tiny proportion of terminations take place after 20 weeks, and 90 per cent of all abortions in the UK are carried out before 12 weeks.
10) Accessing an abortion is already difficult and traumatic enough. The UK does not have abortion on demand, unlike many European countries – it can take months for a woman to have a termination, and hostile doctors can make the process more difficult or delay women in the system until beyond 20 weeks, especially for Irish women who have crossed the sea to access abortion services in the UK.
11) Only 15 per cent of fetuses born before 23-weeks survive to leave their neo-natal units and most will suffer severe health and/or physical problems. Babies born as prematurely as 21-22 weeks are nearly always born brain damaged and severely disabled – meaning that they may have very little quality of life to look forward to.
12) There is no option for ‘viable’ fetuses to be removed from the womb early, so women who carry unwanted pregnancies to term after 20-weeks are forced to carry the growing fetus in their body for months more and then undergo labour, causing permanent physical scars, pain and trauma.
13) When women have to carry unwanted pregnancies to term they risk losing their jobs and damaging their long-term mental and physical health.
14) Fetuses cannot feel pain until much later in the pregnancy, according to experts. ‘The idea of fetal pain is an absurd and cruel one’, said Dr Stuart Derbyshire PhD, a researcher at Birmingham University.
15) Fetuses are never ‘alive’ after abortions, because their brains are not developed enough to sense, think or feel pain.
16) Lowering the time limit to 20-weeks will create a black market trade in unsafe late-term abortions, endangering thousands of women’s lives. Globally some 68,000 women die every year from complications following backstreet abortions. We don’t want that to start happening in the UK.
17) Fetuses are not viable at 20-weeks: they cannot survive alone, and keeping them alive outside the womb requires complicated and expensive medical technology. Even with that technology few survive for long, causing incredible heartbreak to all involved. The idea that fetuses usually survive alone before 24-weeks is ‘a cruel deception for prospective parents with premature babies’, according to Dr Evan Harris MP.
18) Safe, legal abortions at 20-24 weeks rarely have negative psychological effects – but the mental trauma of undergoing an unwanted pregnancy can last a lifetime.
19) In this country, we do not legislate over moral questions such as adultery, and abortion laws should not be the exception to that proud tradition. It is unacceptable to make laws on a moral question where there is any doubt. Pro-life campaigners are already free to make their views heard and to influence individual decisions.
20) The right of a woman to decide what happens to her own body should not be subject to the whims of changing public opinion.
21) Keeping late-term abortion legal will mean that abortions which are going to happen anyway will be carried out safely and hygienically. Many thousands of abortions up to and beyond 24-weeks happened annually before abortion was legalised in the UK in 1967. Those abortions were unsafe and many women died as a result. ‘We used to see women from the local community bleeding to death in accident and emergency after backstreet abortions,’ said retired nurse Iris Fudge.
22) Seventy-six percent of the United Kingdom is pro-choice. The majority of women in the UK want their rights to safe, legal termination to be protected.
23) Those who are campaigning to reduce the time limit want to end legal abortion entirely – a dangerous and arcane concept. Reducing the time limit will bring them one step closer to their goals.
24) If faced with an unintended pregnancy, a woman in consultation with her doctor is the best person to decide on how to proceed.
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Laying out the case for Labour's leadership of a Progressive Alliance, Jeremy Gilbert argues that far from posing a threat to the Left, the Progressive Alliance offers a golden opportunity to end Tory rule and build a 21st century government committed to social justice
The Greens have stood down in Brighton Kemptown to clear the way for Labour, and the Lib Dems won’t stand in Brighton’s other seat, Green-held Pavilion. Davy Jones, who would have been the Green candidate in Kemptown, says this shows the way forward
The snap general election represents a unique opportunity to defeat this terrible government. We believe that visual artists have a crucial role to play!
Drax is the UK's biggest source of CO2 emissions – and we're paying for it, writes Almuth Ernsting
For the past 3 years, Barby Asante and members of London-based artists' collective, sorryyoufeeluncomfortable, have been responding directly to the vision of James Baldwin. Ahead of the nationwide release of a new film about the American activist and author, they reflect on the enduring relevance of Baldwin in Britain today.
Housing campaigners' gains in Bristol are spurring on a national movement to build a renters' union, writes Stuart Melvin
A new Espionage Act threatens whistleblowers and journalists, writes Sarah Kavanagh
We need an anti-austerity alliance, not a vaguely progressive alliance, argues Michael Calderbank
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While the UK left is divided over how to respond to Brexit, the people of Greece continue to groan under the burden of EU-backed austerity. Jane Shallice reports
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Michael Calderbank looks at the results of yesterday's local elections
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Amy Corcoran and Sam Walton ask who helps refugees when it matters – and who stands on the sidelines
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Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 24 May
On May 24th, we’ll be holding the third of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Our activism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit…
Reflecting on a year in the environmental and anti-racist movements, Plane Stupid activist, Ali Tamlit, calls for a renewed focus on the dangers of power and privilege and the means to overcome them.
West Yorkshire calls for devolution of politics
When communities feel that power is exercised by a remote elite, anger and alienation will grow. But genuine regional democracy offers a positive alternative, argue the Same Skies Collective
How to resist the exploitation of digital gig workers
For the first time in history, we have a mass migration of labour without an actual migration of workers. Mark Graham and Alex Wood explore the consequences
The Digital Liberties cross-party campaign
Access to the internet should be considered as vital as access to power and water writes Sophia Drakopoulou
#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part III: a discussion of power and privilege
In the final article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr gives a few pointers on how to be a good ally
Event: Take Back Control Croydon
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Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 19 April
On April 19th, we’ll be holding the second of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Changing our attitude to Climate Change
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology spells out what we need to do to break through the inaction over climate change
Introducing Trump’s Inner Circle
Donald Trump’s key allies are as alarming as the man himself
#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part II: a discussion of power and privilege
In the second article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the silencing of black women and the flaws in safe spaces
Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond
On the right side of history: an interview with Mijente
Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Reyna Wences, co-founder of Mijente, a radical Latinx and Chincanx organising network
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The City of London Corporation is one of the most secretive and least understood institutions in the world, writes Luke Walter
#AndABlackWomanAtThat: a discussion of power and privilege
In the first article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the oppression of her early life and how we must fight it, even in our own movement
Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
Ian Hodson reflects on the Copeland by-election and explains why Corbyn has the full support of The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
On 15 March, we’ll be holding the first of Red Pepper’s Race Section open editorial meetings.
Social Workers Without Borders
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Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides
The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari
Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next
Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace
Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill