Jackie Turner

Unhealthy Bill

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Cameron's supposed retreat on the Health Bill and the resulting incandescent splutterings of Alan Milburn reveal splits within the ruling class and the vulnerability of the Con-Dem Government.

However, we must not be complacent. While the report of the NHS Future Forum has made some helpful recommendations it still falls way short of safeguarding the NHS from further encroachment by the private sector.

The Plot Against the NHS

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Colin Leys and Stuart Player

This is an excellent book and a must read for health activists. Colin Leys is a professor at Goldsmiths College and Stewart Player is a public policy analyst with extensive experience in studying the NHS.

The authors have described what has been done to the NHS as a plot because it has been covert: "Neither parliament nor the public have ever been told honestly what is intended." They detail how privatisation has been introduced in bite-sized chunks to keep it below the public's radar screen.

Defending abortion rights

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This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the private member's bill which led to the Abortion Act of 1967, allowing abortion up to 28 weeks of pregnancy, that was lowered to 24 weeks in 1990 by the Human Fertilisation Act.

The 1967 act ended 164 years of misery for women with unwanted pregnancies. In 1803 abortion was made a capital offence, after centuries when abortion had been legal until foetal movements could be felt. Countless women died agonising deaths as a result of illegal abortion. Fear of prosecution prevented them from seeking medical help. Since the act came into force, the number of abortions each year in Britain has increased from 54,819 in 1969 to 193,000 in 2006. One in three women in Britain can now expect to have an abortion.

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