Diane Abbott MP has recently tabled an Early Day Motion to make it illegal to intimidate clients and staff outside abortion clinics. I had hoped this wouldn’t be necessary but it is. These people are trying to prevent reasonable access to legal healthcare. We know how this “pro-life” (funny it’s always unborn life they are in favour of, not the already-born kind) stuff turns out in the US and it is starting to happen here. In solidarity with all people who believe that women should have the power to control their own bodies, here is the link to the petition in support of the EDM. Please sign.
And here is a poem I wrote in the days when I was on the way to my MA classes, and used to regularly pass the pickets, busy intimidating people, outside one large London clinic. It’s a true story.
Litany on Bedford Square
It’s always been the same; men and old women
instructing young girls how to live,
running in fear of the power of oestrogen
budding and flourishing beyond their law.
Outside this door, the whole sad choir of them
chant in praise of the perfect mother,
gripping rosaries like ligatures;
blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
It’s mortal sin, if you believe in souls,
not cells and blastocysts; ‘products
of conception’. An hour’s mistake must last
a lifetime, no repentance can
absolve a woman of motherhood. I try
to talk to them. One hisses back;
Can’t you see we’re praying? So I sit down
inside the café, and Google this;
And when you pray, don’t be like hypocrites
who love to pray on the corners of streets
to be seen by others. Truly I say to you,
they already have their reward in full. *
I write it down, and ripping out the page
from my notebook, hand it over.
I walk past later, glad to see they’ve gone;
just a happy coincidence.
* Bible, Matthew 6:5