Abortion campaigners need our solidarity in the face of backlash

Marta Lempart, a leader of Polish Women's Strike, attacked with pepper spray by police

International Women’s Day this month saw a celebration of our gains, some cynical marketing and activists protesting for abortion rights. Kerry Abel, Abortion Rights’ Chair rounds up some of the struggles and key protests around the world.

In Poland, after weeks of protests on the streets against the government ban on almost all abortions and the arrest last month of the Polish Women’s Strike leader, Marta Lempart, charged with insulting a police officer among other alleged offences. The campaigners held banners with the slogan “Women’s Day Without Compromises”.

Legalising abortion in Argentina has renewed a conversation in the continent about abortion. Particularly in Mexico where a protest on International Women’s Day in Mexico City’s central square was tear gassed by police.

In Costa Rica, feminist groups presented a popular initiative that aims to bring to the Costa Rican Congress a bill on legal, safe and free abortion, for which they will need the signature of 5% of the electoral roll.

The Aborto Legal Costa Rica Collective launched a “National Campaign for our right to decide” that aims to make the Costa Rican regulations compatible with the international agreements signed by the State regarding sexual and reproductive rights. They call for recognition of the autonomy of women and other people with the ability to gestate on their bodies and their lives.

In the United States the focus is on repealing the Hyde Amendment, which prevents poorer women accessing federal funds for abortions. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris declared their opposition to the Hyde Amendment on the campaign trail. But they have been largely quiet so far on how they plan to follow through on that commitment.

Further evidence has also emerged of the link between the Capitol Hill riot and anti-abortion extremism. Even if this sounds far fetched now, the strategies of US anti-choice activists spread to the UK and we know where they feel emboldened it can lead to a rise in anti-choice activism outside clinics or through organisations like SPUC.

In the UK we are still keeping the pressure on for at-home abortions to be made permanent. Over the last few weeks we have highlighted the raft of new research that comes out reporting that it is safe and patients prefer having the option. Articles were published this week in Glamour Magazine and by Shout Out UK.

But to finish on a high, it was an historic day as abortion was officially decriminalised in South Australia.

The above article was originally published here by Abortion Rights.