[…]

Defend a woman’s right to choose!

I’d say about a hundred of us gathered to chant, wave placards and thrust Abortion Rights leaflets into the hands of unsuspecting pro-lifers outside the Liner hotel in Liverpool on Tuesday night. Widdecombe herself of course made no attempt to show her face outside the building, though a handful of santimonious priests strode into the hotel to chants of ‘Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate’ and ‘Get your rosaries off our ovaries!’

Despite the fact that the protesters hardly represented a controversial position, considering 83% of the population is pro-choice, the police had three dogs and two horses on duty to keep us in check. Much to our amusement, however, the dogs seemed far more interested in snarling at the pro-lifers than at the protesters.

Interestingly, the vast majority of Widdecombe’s supporters appeared to be over the age of 70. I almost felt bad directing our chants at them, but my anger at the threat they pose to my bodily autonomy and to the freedom of women everywhere was far greater than any guilt I felt at verbally attacking the elderly. As we chanted on the night: pro-life is a lie. I’ve said it before, and it can’t be repeated enough times:

As long as sex education is as dire as it currently is, as long as condoms break, pills fail and men rape, as long as pregnant women and mothers are discriminated against in the workplace and free childcare is not available to all, women cannot be truly free without the option of having an abortion.

If that option is only available illegally, women die. Women’s right to live, and to live freely, is what quite rightly matters to the vast majority of people in this country, and is precisely why we cannot let Widdecombe and her so-called pro-life supporters go unchallenged.