Offences Against the Person Act 1861

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:52 pm on 5th June 2018.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Labour, Birmingham, Yardley 4:52 pm, 5th June 2018

I absolutely agree. I would also like to stick up for the women who are not the difficult cases, as well as those who are.

Let me return to the stories:

“The taxi driver who picked us up in Birmingham from the flight was kind, he drove right past protestors outside the clinic and called them ‘horrible people’. He wouldn’t accept mum’s money for the fare. I realised he saw many girls like me, I wasn’t alone…I did not want to travel on my own so had to wait till my friend got time off work…Leicester isn’t exactly easy to get to so we set off at 4 am for our flight, an hour’s bus journey into Leicester, and another 45 mins on another bus just to get to the clinic. After the procedure”,

she and her friend had to go and catch another flight.

“Again another two bus journeys that took near 3 hours this time to get back to the airport, another flight”.

They went back to the house,

“drained, exhausted, emotional and sore.”

She continues:

“The night before I was due to fly to London I had some minor bleeding and by the time I boarded the plane I was in some discomfort. Immediately the plane took off I made my way to the toilet as I had started to bleed heavily. When a female steward eventually knocked at the door I told her I was unwell and suffered from heavy periods. Of course she must have known but she said nothing. I was first off the plane with the young steward who accompanied me to the public toilets in Heathrow airport. She tried to persuade me to see a doctor or nurse but I was terrified. I went into the cubicle, I passed everything into the toilet and flushed it. When I returned to Belfast I did see my GP who was horrified and told me I could have died.”

The final story in my speech sums up what each and every woman who got in touch was saying—and there were hundreds:

“Despite my mental health issues, despite an abusive partner, despite having no money and no real sense of where I was going, I was expected to have this baby. But I didn’t want to be pregnant. And that’s really why I went to England. Afterwards I felt sore, but mostly angry that I’d been made to board a plane because the government that laid claim to my country, demanded it, legislates better for its English citizens than its Northern Irish people. Because Westminster allows our women to be deprived of the basic human rights they give to their English citizens.”