Britain's 1967 Abortion Act is 50 years old. It brought about profound social change, but the struggle for abortion rights is far from over. In this hard-hitting timely new book Judith Orr, leading pro-choice campaigner, argues that it’s time women had the right to control their fertility without the practical, legal and ideological barriers they have faced for generations.
Donald Trump’s presidency threatens abortion rights within the US and his ‘global gag’ affects women worldwide – today 47,000 women die annually from illegal abortions. In Britain, anti-abortion campaigners attack women’s rights under existing law. Elsewhere, women must cross boarders or buy pills online. Meanwhile, in the US, Ireland, Poland and Latin America harsh restrictions on abortion are provoking increased resistance.
Combining analysis of statistics, popular culture and social attitudes with powerful first-hand accounts of women’s experiences and a history of women’s attempts to control their bodies, the author shows that despite the 1967 Abortion Act full reproductive rights in Britain are yet to be won. The book also highlights current debates over decriminalisation and argues for abortion provision fit for the 21st century.
Judith Orr has decades of experience campaigning and writing on women’s rights and abortion. She grew up in Northern Ireland where abortion is effectively illegal. She is an elected member of the executive committee of the national Abortion Rights campaign.
As a journalist, she reported from Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the Egyptian Revolution, in particular highlighting the role of women in the struggle. She has written two previous books, Marxism and Women’s Liberation and Sexism and the System, and has spoken on her work internationally including in Canada, Germany, Austria, South Korea, Ireland and Turkey.
A choice moment;
A web of solidarity;
Abortion: as old as humanity;
An Act of liberation?;
Opposition and resistance;
Women’s bodies as battlegrounds;
What we need;
Voices from the frontline;
"Abortion Wars needs to be in the hands of anyone committed to the fight for women’s liberation. There is no doubt it will resonate in the activity and struggle of its readers." - Socialist Review
“Not so much a book, more a call to arms. Clearly written and rationally argued. Read it and ACT before any more women’s lives are ruined.” Tony Garnett, author of The Day the Music Died
“An excellent weapon in the wars its title refers to. It will be especially useful here in Ireland where the struggle for a woman's right to choose is now a central political issue, North and South.” Brid Smith, People Before Profit, TD Dublin
"Relevant, informative, engaging and necessary - This book is a crucial weapon in the battle for a woman's right to choose." Saba Shiraz, student, University of West London
“As a dedicated pro-choice activist Judith is best placed to write this informative and well-pitched analysis of issues related to defending abortion rights.” Kerry Abel, Chair of Abortion Rights the UK national pro choice campaign
"This excellent book shows why working class women have always had most to gain from campaigns for free, legal and safe abortion and arms us with all the current arguments about reproductive rights. I recommend it to activists everywhere." Jane Loftus, Communication Workers Union
"Highly readable and informative, this is essential and timely reading for anyone who cares about women’s reproductive rights. A political tour de force." Lucy Bland, Anglia Ruskin University