You may be aware that Ann Widdecombe and Lord David Alton are on an anti-abortion tour of Britain with various pro-life groups, as the bill on Human Fertilisation and Embryology moves through parliament. It is anticipated that this bill will come into force in early 2009 and this means there is a very real potential for change (for better or worse). On 4 March, Widdecombe and co will be at City Temple in Cardiff so, in the effort to make sure it is a change for the better, there will be a pro-choice demonstration outside the building to draw attention to our side of the debate.

I have to admit I’m often a bit of an old slackeroo at heart when it comes to protesting (a position which I actually think is quite well-justified in Issue 39 of the Idler). However, I think this is an area where failing to make our voice heard will not divert attention away from the problem of make it go away. It will simply place the rights we currently take for granted under threat and mean we have failed to register our demand for reform (thus implying there is no call for it).

As one abortion rights activist says on Facebook:

“By peacefully demonstrating outside the meeting, we can show them that plenty of people want to take the law forward, not let it get dragged back.”

According to Abortion Rights, the worrying amendments proposed include:

• reduction of the abortion time limit from 24 weeks to 20

• prevention of abortion in cases with severe abnormalities

• imposition of a compulsory 1 week “cooling off period” before abortion procedure

• compulsory counselling before abortion procedure

Meanwhile, we propose:

• removal of the requirement for 2 doctors’ signatures before an abortion is agreed.

• equal access to abortion services around the country

The “pro-life” talk at City Temple begins at 7.30, so the demo will assemble outside from 6.30. There are still (free!) spaces on the coach for Bristolians travelling to the demonstration, leaving at 5.30pm from Broad Quay, where the Bristol&West building used to be. It returns to Bristol at 10pm.

For more details, contact abortionrights@gmail.com.