Abortion Rights

Repeal: a victory for women everywhere

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The impact of the historic vote for abortion rights in Ireland last month was felt worldwide and is a real blow to the religious right. Socialist Review spoke to Sinéad Kennedy, Co-founder of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment about the campaign that inspired and involved so many.

It was a stunning vote, why was it so successful?

Well, it’s difficult to say. At the moment we are still trying to assess it. Certainly it was a larger Yes vote than we had ever imagined. The information that’s beginning to come out suggests people had been making up their minds not just over the last weeks but over the last few years.

A real fight to repeal the 8th amendment

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This month could see a victory for legal access to abortion in Ireland. On 25 May voters will decide whether to repeal the eighth amendment of the constitution, which recognises an equal right to life of the mother and the foetus. This fundamentally removes control for millions of women over their own bodies, and it leaves Ireland decades behind most other western states in terms of abortion rights.

Christianity, the state and women's bodies

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Christian fundamentalists campaign to repeal abortion rights, but the notion that a foetus has rights is relatively recent. German socialist Rosemarie Nünning looks at how attitudes to abortion have changed over the millennia.

Every year in Berlin Christian fundamentalists organise processions with thousands of participants. They are the most radical representatives of the notion that a fertilised egg should be regarded as a human being because at conception “quickening by God” takes place (the clump of cells acquires its own soul). For this reason they consider abortion murder and demand a complete ban.

Abortion Wars

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Abortion Wars is a fantastic analysis of past and present-day debates and fights for abortion rights — but it is also a tool for organisation and resistance.

Judith Orr describes the period we are living in as “a choice moment”, shaped by the clash between huge threats from Donald Trump and the anti-choice movement on the one hand and the growth of movements for women’s rights, like the women’s marches in January 2017 and abortion rights movements in Ireland and Poland.

Polish women fell abortion ban

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The Polish government is terrified of women. Its efforts to introduce a total abortion ban have created a massive backlash with hundreds of thousands of people, mainly young women, demonstrating, taking days off and wearing black at school, college or work.

The draft law had proposed a prison term of up to five years for women who had an abortion.

Abortion in an era of neoliberal choice

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Despite the claim that we live in an age of "personal choice", the right of women to choose an abortion is under attack. Sinead Kennedy gets to the heart of this apparent contradiction.

One of the important political achievements of the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s was winning people to the idea of abortion as an essential choice for women. In the past four decades women’s lives have been transformed so dramatically through the legalisation of abortion that, as US author and activist Katha Pollitt notes, we are in danger of forgetting how things used to be:

Abortion amendment rejected

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An attempt to restrict access to abortion in the UK was thwarted last month — but the vote was too close to be ignored. Fiona Bruce MP, the Tory chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, put up an amendment to the serious crime bill, which would have criminalised abortion on the grounds of foetal sex. She was defeated by 292-201.

Spain: Defeat for abortion rights attack

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Pro-choice campaigners were celebrating last month as an attempt to savagely restrict access to abortion in the Spanish state collapsed.

The right wing People’s Party government approved a law last December, which would have made abortion illegal except in very limited circumstances.

Protests by tens of thousands throughout this year have exacerbated divisions within the ruling party, leading prime minister Mariano Rajoy to finally announce the bill dead.

Why Obama won

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Obama won a second term as US president despite his record. Here US socialist Eric Fretz argues he benefitted from a shift to the left in US society. But what are the prospects for the growth of movements from below that challenge big business and the two-party system?

Four years ago Barack Obama won a historic victory during an economic downturn and widespread opposition to the Bush administration by running as the candidate of hope and change. This year Obama won re-election, in the face of a still bleak economy and widespread disappointment in his own administration, by not seeming as bad as his opponent. The Republicans wanted the election to be a referendum on Obama's first term. Noting the disappointment with "hope and change".

Sex and the German Revolution

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As part of LGBT history month, Colin Wilson looks at the how the German Revolution of 1918 led to significant new freedoms for lesbians and gays, and the role played by Communists

Germany's looming defeat in the First World War meant political crisis. In November 1918 the fleet mutinied and revolution began. The Kaiser - the German emperor - fled to Holland and a republic was proclaimed, beginning a period of radicalisation that was to last until 1923. But, while they had started a revolution, German workers never took the decisive final step of seizing power, as the Russian working class had done in October 1917.

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