Abortion rights and an apparent supportive tweet by Blackpool MP Scott Benton to be discussed at Blackpool meeting on women’s rights
A meeting on Women’s rights will be held tonight in Blackpool, following a Supreme Court ruling in the USA which could see abortion banned in many states and an apparent supportive tweet by Blackpool South MP Scott Benton.
The meeting will take place at the Half Way House pub on St Annes Road to discuss the US decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling which protected a pregnant woman's liberty to have an abortion.
The US Supreme Court overturned it on June 24 meaning that 13 states may bring in Republican-backed laws banning abortion.
That move appeared to have been welcomed by Mr Benton, who has spoken on supporting rights of the unborn child in the past, in a retweet on his Twitter feed, but this was later deleted.
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The ruling has been widely protested, including by many acts at the recent Glastonbury festival and many women’s rights groups fear it could lead to a widening of anti-abortion laws in other countries.
One of the meeting organisers said: “We believe that women should have the right to choose and that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade is taking us back over 50 years.
“We are scared that while this will have a devastating impact on millions of American lives, this is only just the beginning.
"We are fearful that this movement of regressive policies will hit our shores next.
"I was shocked to see our MP tweet his support of the Supreme's court decision. What I want to know is what is he lobbying for in Westminster? Does he really understand the implications of this decision on women including those in poverty, those whose life might be at risk or who have been victims of abuse?
"It is worrying to think he might try to reduce access in the UK to women's health and reproductive services. I decided to take action which is why I posted an open invite on Facebook and I have been amazed by the response and the number of people who feel the same way.”
He said today: "Abortion is a conscience issue which MPs of all different parties take different views on. My mailbag is always split on the issue when votes arise in Parliament on this.
"I’m a strong advocate of women’s rights and stand by my record on promoting better access to education and health services for women in Blackpool.
"This will remain a key priority of mine.
"I suspect that the meeting would be more productive if it focused on improving the rights of women in Blackpool, as I do, as opposed to campaigning on judicial proceedings in the USA.”