BRITAIN'S largest Women's organisation has withdrawn its support for the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill now before Parliament.
Announcing this decision at a meeting in London, Mrs. Joan Boulind, president of the National Council of Women, said that the support had been qualified initially in the hope that some clauses in the Bill would be modified to make it more acceptable.
It was now realised. she said, that the committee responsible for shaping the Bill before its third and final reading in Parliament had widened the grounds for abortion to include decisions about the social and economic conditions of the family which doctors are not properly qualified to make.
Mrs. Boulind was speaking at a public meeting attended by 300 women called by the Social Morality Council and the British Humanist Association. Her council, she said, had been working for reform of the abortion laws since 1938. She suggested that either a Royal Commission or a Corn mince of Enquiry should be set up to examine the question urgently and draft a fresh Bill.
Mrs. Barbara Diamond, who said she was speaking "on behalf of all the women and girls not represented here", said the meeting had been taken over by "religious and elderly pressure groups". "I am outraged at the stuff I have heard", she said. "This sort of meeting is why the abortion law reform will not go through. There are hundreds and thousands of women outside this hall who would be very very unhappy if this Bill is dropped."
MR. NORMAN ST. JOHNSTEVAS, M.P., organiser of a petition for ii royal commission on abortion, this week made a request that people signing the petition should write their addresses as well.
N0 alcoholic drinks will be served by the bishops at their annual Low Week reception at Archbishop's House, Westminster, this year. The money saved will be given to the Catholic Women's League Relief and Refugees' Committee,