Yesterday, over 30 of us gathered outside the Chalmers Sexual Health Centre which provides a range of services including abortion, contraception and other reproductive healthcare. We were there to show solidarity for the work the Clinic's healthcare professionals do, and to stand with all those who have used their services, and who will use those services in the future. Our message was clear: women have the right to choose what happens to their bodies, and abortion and other reproductive healthcare is a right.
During Lent, a group of anti-choice campaigners have gathered outside the Clinic every day to protest the provision of these vital services. We were there to show people that this anti-choice, anti-healthcare group does not speak for us.
I was honoured to be able to say a few words at the gathering. In addition to reaffirming my commitment to a woman's right to choose, I highlighted how important it is for us to fight bigotry wherever we find it. Anti-choice campaigners are just one part of a range of anti-rights groups on the rise across Europe and North America: we must stand together against homophobia, racism, xenophobia and fascism.
At the end of our celebration, I read out a slightly adapted poem that one of the pro-choice campaigners, Hannah, remembered from her school sex education classes:
My body is my body, and it belongs to me.
No one can choose for it; no one but me!
And if they try, we're going to yell "STOP!"
And tell them: "Run, run, run, far away from me!"
Nobody owns my body but me!
If you would like to come and celebrate the 51st Anniversary of the Abortion Act in the UK, do join us on Saturday 27 April at 11am on Lothian Road, near the Usher Hall.