This is a guest post on behalf of the Bristol Festival of Ideas.
Out of the Backstreet: 50 Years of the Abortion Act
Sat 27 May 2017, 19:30-20:45
The 1967 Abortion Act is marked as an historic victory for the pro-choice movement and an important part of Britain’s social history. The Act took abortion out of the backstreet, particularly for poor and working class women, and introduced safe, legal abortion. Now 50 years on more people than ever before support a women’s right to choose and make their own reproductive decisions in Britain.
Kerry Abel (Abortion Rights Chair), journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge, Sally Sheldon (Professor of Law, University of Kent) and sociologist Jackie West discuss the Act, from examining how it was won and commemorating the activists to exploring current barriers to abortion access.
In partnership with Abortion Rights.
Abortion Rights is the national pro-choice campaign. They are campaigning to defend and extend women’s rights and access to safe, legal abortion.
Kerry Abel is the Chair of Abortion Rights, the only national pro-choice campaign in Britain. She has promoted the campaign in the media, including appearing on BBC’s Newsnight and in the Observer. Follow her on Twitter @kerryabel
Reni Eddo-Lodge is an award-winning journalist. Her work can be found at the New York Times, Voice, Telegraph, Guardian, Independent, Stylist, Inside Housing, Pool, Dazed and Confused and the New Humanist. She is the winner of an MHP 30 to Watch Award and was chosen as one of the 30 Most Exciting People Under 30 in Digital Media by the Guardian in 2014. She has been listed in Elle’s 100 Inspirational Women list and The Roof’s 30 Black Viral Voices Under 30. She has appeared on BBC Radio 4’sWoman’s Hour and was a panellist for Woman’s Hour’s 2014 Power List. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race is her first book. Follow her on Twitter @renireni
Sally Sheldon is a Professor of Law at the University of Kent. She has published widely in health care law and the legal regulation of gender, including books on abortion law, feminist perspectives on health care law, fatherhood, and fathers’ rights activism. She is currently working on large project funded by the AHRC, entitled ‘The Abortion Act (1967): A Biography’. She is a founder member of Lawyers for Choice and a trustee of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.
Jackie West is a sociologist who worked at the University of Bristol. Campaigns for employment equality and reproductive rights inspired her teaching and research. Particular interests included work, the family and sexuality. She was vice chair of the Brook Advisory Centre in Bristol for many years and undertook research for the Health Authority on young people and sexual health. She is currently involved in an EU project on sex work and prostitution policy.
The Walworth Beauty
Wed 31 May 2017, 19:00-20:00
Author and poet Michèle Roberts discusses her work, in particular her new book The Walworth Beauty, a sensuous and evocative novel exploring prostitution and poverty in Victorian London.
2011: When Madeleine loses her job, she decides to leave her riverside flat in the heart of the city, where history never feels far away, and move to Apricot Place. Yet here too, in this quiet south London cul-de-sac, she senses the past encroaching, a shifting in the atmosphere.
1851: Joseph Benson has been employed by Henry Mayhew to research his articles on the working classes (which will be published asLondon Labour and the London Poor). A family man with mouths to feed, Joseph is tasked with coaxing testimony from prostitutes. Roaming the Southwark streets, tempted by the brothels’ promises of pleasure, he struggles with his assignment – and seeks help in Apricot Place, where the enigmatic Mrs Dulcimer resides. As these two stories unfold, they begin to entwine, and the ghosts of the city’s past erupt in the present.
Michèle Roberts is the author of 13 highly acclaimed novels, including The Looking Glass and Daughters of the House, which won the WHSmith Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Her novel Ignorance was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2013 and her memoir Paper Houses was BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week. She has also published poetry and short stories, most recently collected in Mud-Stories of Sex and Love. She is Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. The Walworth Beauty is her latest novel.
In association with Bristol Women’s Literature Festival.