(report by Lois JC and Shanice McBean, pics from mybellyismine.wordpress.com)
Spanish activists have launched a campaign called Mi Bombo Es Mío (“my belly is mine”) in response to plans by the government to make abortion illegal in all but a handful of cases.
The campaign is now spreading internationally. On Thursday and Friday last week women from Spanish and Irish abortion rights campaigns organised solidarity actions in London to raise awareness of the issue.
The Thursday protest began at Holborn station. Around 20 women were present, holding signs with slogans such as “My body, my choice” and “Not the church, not the state, but women’s choice”.
We walked in line with these signs, travelling up and down the escalators and on the Tube trains through Kings Cross, Angel, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, Green Park. On the Friday we travelled through London Bridge and Waterloo. The pictures and videos we captured on the day will be used to send solidarity to those fighting these draconian laws in Spain.
Protesting on the transport system at peak times meant we had a large and diverse audience. Many people applauded, expressed their support and were interested to find out more about this attack on women’s rights in Spain. We think we can learn from My Belly Is Mine: creative ways of protest can make an impact and draw people in.
Anti-abortion laws present a particular problem for working class families – and working class women in particular. They face increased burdens as cuts are made to welfare, social provisioning and wages. Attempts to restrict abortion rights are part of a neoliberal project to push the costs of social reproduction onto the working class.
These laws amount to forcing pregnant women to carry. They remove the choices working women need to over the size of their families. And the pressures are higher for specific demographic groups: disabled women and women of colour, for example. Abortion rights are a necessary concern for all of us.
► mybellyismine.wordpress.com for more information and pictures