The Green Party’s abortion policy


1:39 am - February 18th 2008

by Natalie Bennett    


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Green Party policy on abortion was already pretty solid, saying that the party would not back any change in the law to reduce women’s access to abortion.

But I am pleased to say that after the Spring Conference in Reading, which concluded yesterday, it is now rather better, backing three changes to recognise medical developments: to remove the requirement to obtain two doctors’ signatures, to allow nurses and midwives to perform abortions, and to loosen restrictions on where abortions can be performed.

These are all measures backed (in slightly varying patterns) by the Royal College of Nurses, the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Ob/Gyn, and match the finding of the Joint parliamentary committee on science and technology – which found that they would reduce waits for abortions that would anyway being carried out.

You would think that all sides of the debate would agree that earlier abortions are preferable to later ones, but I’m not seeing any sign of such sense from those who are trying to use the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill to reduce women’s access to abortion.

There’s a lot of concern about their efforts in the feminist community – as well there should be, given that any reduction in access to abortions, the “nibbling away at rights” that they’ve learnt from the US, would be hugely damaging, particularly to vulnerable women.

But I’m also with the Conservative MP John Bercow, who told a recent Abortion Rights parliamentary lobby that since the “other side” had raised the issue, those who want an abortion law fit for the 21st century should use the opportunity to create it. He said he’d asked the Commons library to carry out an analysis which had found that about two-thirds of MPs were pro-choice.

We can’t just stay on the offensive. It is time to advance.


The BBC reported the conference decision. And you can read more about conference events on the unofficial group blog, Green Despatches.

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Natalie Bennett is leader of the Green Party of England and Wales
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Reader comments


Good for the greens

Oh dear, the Greens miss the point again – when will they become relevant to the actual debate?
The issue regarding abortion is after all how to avoid needing one in the first place, not what restrictions are emplaced to pacify objectors. Of course earlier terminations are better than later terminations, as are fewer unwanted children, fewer unwanted pregnancies and fewer terminantions overall.

We can’t just stay on the offensive. It is time to advance.

Damn right!
This decision by the Greens is to be applauded, well done Natalie.

thomas: not what restrictions are emplaced to pacify objectors.

Why are the restrictions placed on women not as important as the rest?
And in either case, it is better than what the Conservatives are doing – trying to fudge and misrepresent the evidence and debate.

I agree, Sunny, after a termination it is important that the woman concerned has all the rest she needs and requires, as well as any psychological or physiological support to cope with whatever trauma she experiences, even if that means twenty or thirty years later.

On the other hand (or appendage) condoms and other forms of contraceptive are widely available and to be encouraged as the easiest, best, first and universal resort.

Whereas the Green Party openly, though not so widely, promotes a population policy one step removed from forced sterilisation and forced termination on pure enviro-materialistic grounds. One wonders how long it will be before they realise cemetaries represent ideal cases of inner-city green space which can be turned into allotments and that they can farm unwanted embryos to be recycled into fertiliser, maybe even in exchange for twelve carrots and half a hundred-weight worth of potatoes’ barter credit.

Great news.

And thomas, while preventing abortions (through sex ed and improved access to contraceptives) is important, it is absolutely crucial to fight for women’s right to control their own bodies. When that is under threat – as is currently the case – that should be the focus.

Thomas, I don’t think the Green Party misses the point at all. Conference voted to change some aspects of our policy on abortion, essentially removing some barriers that currently result in some women having to wait up to 7 weeks for a termination through the NHS.

Our policy on abortion still begins:

H320 The fact that the number of abortions carried out in England and Wales continues to rise should be of concern to all. Given the health risks associated with any medical and surgical procedure and many people’s moral discomfort with induced terminations, it is entirely understandable that many wish to see this number significantly reduced.

H321 The Green Party recognises the problems caused by unwanted pregnancies and supports a multi-policy strategy to reduce them, including:

a)ensuring adequate sex education in all schools (see ED307). This should be done at a sufficiently early age that children should be fully aware of the potential consequences of sexual activity before they are likely to become sexually active. Schools should also teach life skills, including those relating to caring for and raising children, so that young people feel better prepared to become parents when the time is right for them (see ED305).

b)ensuring adequate financial and social support for parents, particularly lone parents and those with disabled children, so that women do not feel pressure to terminate a pregnancy purely because they would be unable to make financial ends meet (see EC730-733 and ‘Social Welfare’).

c)ensuring adequate provision of free family planning advice by properly trained health workers and counsellors (see H301) and the provision of free contraceptives. To ensure proper protection of their rights and wellbeing, children under the age of consent should feel fully able to seek such support and facilities without their parents necessarily having to be informed.

The rest of the policy can be found here: http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mfss/mfsshe.html

It’s still the old one, but will be updated in due course.

Excuse me Pippa, but those Green Party ‘policies’ are devoid of any new or different ideas and completely lacks any cohesive intellectual argument, they parrot just what you’d expect to hear from any waffling report produced by a civil servant, who drivels on, trying to appease all factions, while failing to please any.

Where the ‘policy’ reads in parts acceptably it describes what we already have in place and is therefore irrelevant – it is a general statement of guff, impracticality and occasional ridiculousness.
The Green Party stands in a vacuum – how can you waste your time on such braindead backwardness?


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