Europe: Thousands of voices for the right to abortion

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Facing a reactionary shift and the prevailing austerity, the right to abortion and its effective exercise are put under pressure throughout Europe. On 28 September, International Day of the Right to Abortion was an opportunity for thousands of women and men to demand that abortion should become a right for all women in Europe.

By Céline Moreau and Alexandre Govaerts (FGTB)

Meetings and demonstrations took place in many European countries: Poland, Ireland (where a referendum will be held on this issue in 2018), Italy, France...

In Belgium, the World March of Women organized a demonstration in solidarity with women from other European countries.

Stressing the tenacity of social movements that have succeeded in thwarting attempts to limit cases where abortion can be practiced (as recently in Spain and Poland), the demonstration also aimed to remind that several European countries still prohibit abortion (Malta) or in the vast majority of cases (Ireland).

Participants also recalled that abortion is a right that is still difficult, fragile and regularly called into question by some politicians. This questioning is ideological in nature (reactionary political forces) and/or linked to the austerity imposed on health structures (reduction of budgets for staff and infrastructure necessary for abortion, particularly in France).

The organizers also demanded several advances to guarantee the effectiveness of the right to abortion in Belgium. For example, the compulsory introduction of training in abortion techniques in the initial curriculum for health professionals and the abolition of the "conscience clause" for doctors in the practice of abortion, to name but two, would facilitate access to abortion for a greater number of women.

The right to abortion is a fundamental right that must be accessible everywhere and to all women who want it!