By Christopher Howse
Pro-abortion groups in the media and unions are mobilising to meet the threat of Mr John Corrie's Bill to limit the grounds for abortion. The Bill resumes its committee stage next Wednesday and there is a national demonstration by TUC members against it on Sunday. October 28. Last week the Central London Branch of the National Union of Journalists, with more than 3,000 members voted to allow its members to carry the branch banner at the TUC march. Fewer than 20 people attended the meeting when this was decided.
On the same day an ad hoc committee. Journalists against Corrie, called on journalists to protect the 1967 Act and provide coverage for the pro-abortion lobby. Miss Angela Phillips, of the NUJ Equality Working Party said: "We do need propaganda. We do need stories going out about this."
Miss Phillips added: "It's not a question of cuts. It's an ideological issue. Abortion is cheaper than
having babies, so spending cuts ought not to come into it."
Another promoter of the new committee, Miss Sandra Wright, speaking for the Elect Street Women's Voice, said: "This Bill is taking away From us the right to choose," The decision on whether there was a grave and substantial risk to health that the new law might require would be the doctor's not the woman's.
• Miss Wright attacked Mr Curries proposal of limiting abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. "Is a foetus of 19 weeks any less important than one of 20 weeks?" she asked, "The silliness of it does not bear discussing."
"Corrie's a hypocrite; that's what it boils down to," she continued. "He's no more concerned about the welfare of the unborn child than the Pope is."
Miss Wright said that the Bill would drive 70 per cent of the women concerned into the back streets, if it became law. "I've seen women dying from illegal abortions ever since 1967. It's always the working class women and the ethnic minorities, though the Asian women are so oppressed they never even think of abortion," she said.
Pro-abortionists are appealing to people to write to their MPs and to join in a planned lobby at the House of Commons on February 5, three days before the likely date of the report stage of the Bill.
Mr Corrie said on the BBC "Woman's Hour" programme last week that the present law was failing. It was not meant to provide abortion on demand, but was sometimes being used in this way. He was also seeking to protect nurses who objected to joining in abortion operations and to control the activities of abortion advice and clinic services.
A pro-life activist said: "The apathy of Catholics is shown by the ease with which unions and associations pass measures against Corrie's Bill. Most people don't bother even to write to their M Ps."
Mr P. J. Cunningham, Secretary of Trade Unionists Against Abortion, said of the TUC march: "I am confident that no more than a tiny fraction of trade unionists will respond to this
shameful call which flies in the face of everything our noble movement represents. I believe that most of the people marching on October 28 will not be trade unionists."
• The anti-abortion campaign in the United States has received a boost from the Pope's visit, according to American pro-abortion campaigners. Pope John Paul was greeted with enthusiasm at Washington when he said: "All human life — from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages — is sacred." Pro-lifers have since stepped up their efforts to secure a constitutional change to protect the unborn.
A spokesman of the National Abortion Rights Action League admitted that abortion campaigners were falling behind, But while senators in areas with a high proportion of Catholics will have to watch their policy on a mother's "right to choose," the country's mood is not yet ripe for the granting of federal -safeguards against abortion.