So, it’s looking like the DUP will be propping up a Tory minority government. There’s lots of things to worry about there, but let’s start with just one: The DUP is anti-abortion.
Yes, you read that right. It’s 2017 and there is a serious prospect of a party that voted to keep the ban on abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, being in power.
In November 2016, the Belfast high court ruled that Northern Ireland’s abortion law breaches international human rights, but this doesn’t change the DUP’s stance. And don’t even get us started on their views on LGBTQ+ rights.
— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) June 10, 2017
Luckily, the DUP are not going to form a formal coalition with the Conservatives, and have instead arranged a “confidence and supply deal”. This could mean that when the DUP demand a vote on restricting access to abortions across the UK (and it is already clear they will), that some more liberal Tories vote against it. Is this good news? For anyone who thinks women should have the right to choose what happens to their own bodies, yes! Of course it is! But does it mean we can breathe a sigh of relief? Sadly, not yet.
There are MPs in other parties who are anti-abortion, and though this may come as a surprise, this does include MPs in the Labour Party. While some will still follow the party line despite their personal disagreements, there are others who will do what they can to make life harder for vulnerable women. Labour MPs have been amongst those voting to lower the limit for an abortion from 24 to 22 weeks, and there is a genuine risk that many Labour MPs will vote with the DUP and Tories to lower the limits again – and who knows how many other restrictions could potentially be put in place.
Labour defied the expectations of many on Thursday by gaining 30 MPS, but it is unclear as of yet how many of them feel about this issue. We can hope that all 30 will vote with the party (and with common sense) to protect women’s rights, but hope won’t be enough.
If you believe that women should have authority over what happens to their own bodies, then Labour is the party that can keep it that way – but only if there is enough pressure on them.
Find out who your MP is and how to contact them at Write To Them, and urge them to vote against any attempts by the DUP/Tory government to attack women’s rights and restrict access to safe terminations. The women of Britain are counting on you.
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