Letter: Battle lines drawn on abortion law

Sir: We are outraged that anti-abortion MPs are yet again planning to attack abortion legislation this autumn. The idea that the general public are now demanding new laws to restrict abortion, as Ann Winterton MP suggests, is misguided.

An increasing number of people agree that pregnant women should have the right to choose whether or not to continue with their pregnancy (81 per cent, Mori, August 1996). Far from being too liberal, the 1967 Abortion Act did not give women the right to choose and only allows abortions on certain limited grounds. The final decision on each abortion is made by two doctors.

In contrast to this, most countries in Europe, including most recently Poland, offer women abortion on request up to twelve weeks (when over 90 per cent of abortions are carried out anyway). The anti-choice lobby are saying that the 1967 Act should be "tightened up" when really they believe that all abortion should be made illegal, an argument that they have lost over and over again. The UK abortion law does not need to be be more restrictive; it needs to be completely revised to give women the abortion rights they have won elsewhere.

DAWN PRIMAROLO MP

(Bristol South, Lab)

DIANE ABBOTT MP

(Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Lab)

TERESA GORMAN MP

(Billericay, C)

WENDY SAVAGE FRCOG

GLENYS KINNOCK MEP

(South Wales East, Lab)

Dr GERMAINE GREER

JANET SUZMAN

SARAH DUNANT

ANNA RAEBURN

ANNE MARIE KEARY

Chair, National Abortion Campaign

London E8

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