The decriminalisation of abortion has been won through struggle, not simply handed down by benevolent MPs. The politicians were forced into action after a light was shone on the denial of reproductive rights in the North. It was the actions of pro-choice activists that were key to making this happen.
Mass movements against sexism and oppression will inevitably come up against the logic of the capitalist system we live under, where 6 men own more wealth than 50% of the world’s population.
International Women’s Day this year must be a massive protest, bringing together working-class people, activist groups and trade unions to win the right to choose. A united, cross-community and organised movement of women, workers and all the oppressed can not only challenge and repeal backward laws, but fight to transform society.
Pro-choice activists and trade unionists must organise for the biggest possible mobilisation of people on the streets ahead of any vote on decriminalisation. We must seek solidarity from the labour movement in Britain. Politicians should be left in no doubt that, if our rights continue to be denied, they will face a campaign of civil disobedience that will make the law unworkable. The Socialist Party supports full decriminalisation of abortion but we must go further to ensure abortions are free, safe, legal and accessible here in Northern Ireland on the NHS.