'The constitution makes no reference to abortion and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.’

The words that caused American women to lose ownership of their own bodies; not forgetting the hundreds of millions of women and girls worldwide who’ve never had ownership of theirs.

The words that also brought victory for a small, but vociferous, well-funded and well organised movement. A victory which flies in the face of public opinion; almost two thirds of Americans support a woman’s right to choice. Yet that fundamental human right has gone. 

READ MORE: 'If you’re anti-abortion, you’re anti-women'

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and trans people, among other minorities, aren’t referenced in the American constitution either which has serious implications for many more millions of people. And where the US goes, others follow.

Not least here and across the UK because those same far right Christian organisations have already arrived and are already having an impact. In the UK their job is harder: nine out of ten adults are pro choice, but there can be no complacency on the part of those, like me, who oppose these reactionary forces.

In the past five years 50 clinics in Wales and England have been targeted by groups such as the Centre for Bioethical Reform UK (CBR) and Abort67, an offshoot, run by Andy Stephenson and Kathryn Atwood. Stephenson, the former director of CBR UK, was accused of violating the Public Order Act by displaying graphic photos of aborted foetuses. He was acquitted at trial in Brighton in 2012.

CBR have also targeted Cardiff University Students Union on four occasions, displaying disturbing images and comparing abortion to Nazi genocide. Absurd, grotesque and intimidating.

Forty Days for Life is another wealthy, US-based organisation increasingly active in Scotland with a network of several hundred volunteers. Forty Days targets clinics, holding what are billed as ‘prayer vigils’, but which are, in reality, barrages of abuse hurled at women.

So serious has the problem become that Nicola Sturgeon is rightly taking action to put buffer zones around clinics to end the direct harassment. Mark Drakeford needs to follow suit, but as long as abortion remains a power reserved to Westminster, there isn’t much more he can do. 


The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) was found by Vice news in May to have received nearly £73,000 in donations via donor agency NPT Transatlantic from undisclosed US sources, which may have tax implications.

Rachael Clarke, chief of staff at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) called the funding "deliberately obfuscated and shadowy" and said that the group’s agenda "dangerously blurs the lines between value judgement and social and clinical reality".

The essential problem for Clarke and a number of other informed voices, including Ruth Wareham, Education Policy Researcher at Humanists UK, and Pam Lowe, Senior Lecturer at Aston University, is that SPUC considers all abortions as coercive and therefore wrong, without providing the evidence. Is this an organisation we should be taking seriously? 

CBR UK, SPUC and their ilk are driven by an ideology based on falsehoods, designed to mislead, to frighten and, by so doing, to control. They clearly have the ear of some of our politicians too through the Pro-Life all party parliamentary group chaired by Carla Lockhart of the Democratic Unionist Party.

The group’s secretariat is provided by Right to Life UK which initially succeeded in getting the UK government to scrap at-home abortions in England during the pandemic through intensive lobbying. The decision was later reversed.

Even so, this was a clear demonstration of the power of the anti abortion lobby and an even clearer wake up call for all of us who strive to defend human rights.

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