The Shouty Woman

July 10, 2006


Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 12:04 pm

Back to work after a weekend spent ill with a flare-up of my chronic stomach problem. ‘Oh, you’re so lucky you never put on weight!’ say ignorant people; I feel like replying ‘well, if you want the stomach cramps, tiredness and internal bleeding, go right ahead – I won’t miss them.’

Anyway, I wanted to write today about one of the most inspiring events I’ve ever been to. It was on Thursday 6th July at the House of Commons, it was organised by Abortion Rights UK, and I left it feeling moved beyond words by what I had heard.

The aim of the event, entitled ‘Speak Out – I had an Abortion’, was just that – to allow women to discuss their own expereinces of abortion in front of a sympathetic audience. It was chaired by Anne Quesney of Abortion Rights UK, and sponsored by a fantastic MP called Laura Moffatt who’s a strong pro-choice advocate. After speeches by Ms Quesney, Ms Moffatt and two others, women in the audience began standing up and telling their stories.

The women who spoke were of all ages and backgrounds. Some were confident speaking to the group, others less so. However what united them was their assertion that they did not regret for one moment the decision to have a termination. Most felt that they could not have supported a child at that particular time. Some had several children already and could not support another. Some were in relationships that had no future. Some had no money, or no real home. Each and every one had a genuine reason why abortion was the best, or only, choice.

These women’s words moved me to tears and brought home, stronger than ever, the message that we have to fight to keep our bodily autonomy. Although here in the UK we think ourselves lucky, the anti-choice movement is large and very powerful. They are pushing for a ‘review’ of current abortion laws, but don’t be fooled by this mild rhetoric – they won’t be satisfied until abortion is outlawed altogether.

As one speaker said on Thursday, in an ideal world events like ‘Speak Out’ would not need to happen. There would be no stigma attached to abortion, and no-one trying to restrict our rights. However our world, as we well know, is not ideal, and until it is we need to keep speaking out, spreading the message that our bodies, and our choices, are our own.

PS. If you can bring yourself to, buy this month’s Marie Claire. Its editor Marie O’Riordan was at the event on Thursday, and this month’s issue contains testimonies from women who have had abortions. Marie Claire is probably the best of the women’s magazines – at least it has political features in among the anorexic models and unaffordable clothes.



  1. I’m really loving your blog and the issues you tackle in it, I just thought I’d let you know that I’m glad that a well-written individual like yourself is using the internet’s freedom of speech factor to such a positive use and you write so passionately.

    I’m sick of hearing young women shrug off casual abortions, or how they frequently pop down to their local GP to obtain the morning-after-pill. Finally, somebody acknowledges the politics behind such a humungous life decision. You’re right about Marie Claire,too.

    Comment by Sarah Parry — July 10, 2006 @ 8:13 pm |Reply

  2. Thank you so much Sarah – it’s lovely to get such positive feedback. I’ve linked to your blog by the way.

    Comment by Lucy — July 10, 2006 @ 9:58 pm |Reply

  3. cheers chick!

    Comment by Sarah Parry — July 12, 2006 @ 7:06 pm |Reply

  4. Thanks for covering this – I read about it beforehand in some papers but haven’t heard anything since. It’s a great idea but a shame it hasn’t recieved more coverage in the papers.

    Comment by lasomnambule — July 17, 2006 @ 9:15 pm |Reply

  5. feminism has a new voice!

    Comment by Randall Wall — December 26, 2006 @ 10:09 pm |Reply

  6. Lovely blog

    Comment by Marios Loizou — December 31, 2006 @ 5:45 pm |Reply

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