George Galloway, Respect and abortion

A recent article in The Independent on Sunday (4 April 2004) quotes George Galloway as saying that he is ‘strongly against abortion. I believe life begins at conception and therefore unborn babies have rights. I think abortion is immoral...I believe in God. I have to believe that the collection of cells has a soul’. This reactionary position will be a surprise to many people but in fact it is consistent with his record as a Labour MP. The completely reactionary Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child lauds him as a ‘courageous fighter’ in defence of the ‘unborn child’.

Galloway’s fundamentalist Catholic position is being put into practice in the US where the fundamentalist Protestant George Bush, has banned US aid to any agency offering abortion advice and has withheld $30 million from a UN population control programme because it supported ‘reproductive rights’. A ‘partial birth abortion ban’ act made law last autumn has led to the US Justice Department demanding the medical records of thousands of women from hospitals. A New York hospital has already been fined because it refused to hand over records. In Utah a woman with mental problems was charged with murder when one of her twins died during delivery. She had refused a Caesarean section and was accused of abusing drugs. Other states have charged women with abuse for taking drugs or drinking during pregnancy. Some 30 states have laws ‘protecting’ the unborn child which are used exclusively against the poor and oppressed.

The SWP have attempted to downplay Galloway’s utterly reactionary views by saying that this is his personal position and not the position of Respect. But Respect itself does not have a concrete position on abortion and anyway the official name Respect in the elections is, Respect – The Unity Coalition (George Galloway). Galloway’s views will seem to most people to be the position of Respect. Women in Leeds quite properly picketed a Galloway meeting to defend women’s rights; all genuine socialists should oppose him in his campaign for votes given he stands for the continued oppression of women. The RCG has always demanded the right to free contraception and abortion on demand.

FRFI 179 June / July 2004