Londoners gather to defend abortion rights

Londoners gather to defend abortion rights

‘My body, my choice‘ — After news broke last week around an expected reversal of the 1973 landmark law that made abortion legal in the US, protestors gathered in the UK in support of American women.

Last week, a leaked document suggesting that the US Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v Wade sparked a wave of anger and panic. If Roe v Wade – the 1973 ruling which provided Americans with the right to an abortion – was overturned, it is likely that 22 states would immediately move toward banning or severely restricting abortion.

This has, understandably, raised concerns across the world and resulted in international protests this week in solidarity with American women. In London, hundreds took to the streets last weekend (14 May) to march from Parliament Square to the US embassy, carrying signs which read: “Abortion is health care”, “Abortion is a personal decision, not a legal debate” and “Hands of my uterus”.

“Making abortion illegal is going to impact the most marginalised people in society, whether that’s Black women, whether that’s trans people, or migrants,” Ammaarah, age 23, a gender-based violence campaigner who attended the protest, said. “The threat to abortion anywhere is a threat to abortion everywhere.”

Chimene, a 24-year-old grad student at UCL originally from the US, was also at the protest. “I believe abortion is healthcare, and when you can’t provide that, it’s women of colour who are most affected. I want to be able to protest for women who can’t show up in these spaces.” When asked how the experience of watching the expected rollback of abortion rights back home has been, Chimene said: “It shows abortion rights are an international problem, and that when we join together in solidarity we can actually make things happen, and it’s not something just happening in the states – it’s happening here, as well.” Indeed, many have pointed out that access to abortion services is still almost nonexistent in Northern Ireland despite progressive legislation.

Also at the protest was Amy, a 31-year-old doctor who provides abortion services. When asked how she felt about the criminalisation of doctors who provide abortion services, she said: “It’s terrifying, because it’s not just doctors who are providing abortion, it’s doctors who are providing life-saving treatment for miscarriages who are being prosecuted as well. I’d like to think that if I was in that situation I’d continue to practice, but I think that in reality, I’d have to do what a lot of other doctors are doing and stop providing this essential service.”

Photographer Bex Wade was at the protest to capture the action.






Follow Bex Wade on Instagram

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