Fabiana | Abortion in Scotland: devolving for choice?

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I contributed an article on devolution and abortion law to the Spring issue of Fabiana, the magazine of the Fabian Women’s Network:

The Scotland Bill is due to receive royal assent before the Holyrood elections in May. It will devolve many new powers to the Scottish parliament, including abortion law – making it, in a quiet way, one of the biggest shifts in abortion law in the UK since the 1967 Abortion Act. Quiet, because discussion of the issues have been somewhat limited for such a major change, although a few pro-choice voices have sounded concern, and a few anti-abortion campaigners have given validation to those alarms.

Download the issue as a PDF here 

Grazia | Why don’t young female voters like Hillary?

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It would be the perfect fairytale. With feminism at a historic peak and the Republican party mired in extremism, Hillary Clinton is about to win the Democratic nomination, and should have every chance of walking into the White House as the USA’s first female president. But she’s had an unexpectedly tough fight to get here. Outsider candidate Bernie Sanders pushed her hard during the primaries, and there’s one unexpected constituency of voters where he’s beaten Hillary time and again: women. To some female Democrat voters, it seems that Clinton looks more wicked stepmother than Cinderella.

Full article in Grazia issue 569; click here for a PDF version

Little Atoms | What does a successful prostitution policy look like?

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What does a successful policy on prostitution look like? The first and obvious answer is “nothing like what the UK is currently doing”. Although the sale and purchase of sex are both legal in the UK, related activities (such as soliciting, kerb crawling, or keeping a brothel) are criminalised. The Crown Prosecution Service includes prostitution within its “violence against women framework” – but despite this, since 2013, more women than men have been targeted under prostitution law.

Whichever side of the ideological lines you fall on when it comes to the sex industry, a system that punishes those it identifies as victims more than those it identifies as perpetrators can only be described as a terrible failure.

Read the full article at Little Atoms

New Statesman | Meet the footballer Niamh McKevitt, a girl who joined the boys’ league

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The only girl in England playing football in the boys’ leagues tells the story behind her unique sporting journey.

Attracting attention has always been normal for Niamh McKevitt in her football career. At 16, she is the captain of the South Yorkshire Girls under 17s squad, has represented the Republic of Ireland Women at junior international level, and started playing for Huddersfield Town in the FA Women’s Premier League while still at school. But it’s not her accomplishments in the women’s game that make her stand out. It’s this: since she was 12, Niamh has been the only girl in England playing football in the boys’ leagues, and she’s now written about her experiences in a book called Playing With the Boys.

Read the full piece at the New Statesman

New Humanist | What does Utopia tell us about our attitudes to disaster?

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I grew up expecting to live until the end of the world. Born one week before the Greenham Common protests began, some of my earliest memories are the throb of nuclear terror. I read When the Wind Blows (Raymond Briggs’s 1982 post-fallout picture book) at the library and fretted about a slow, greenish, bloat-fleshed demise in the dismal confines of a fallout shelter, every cell of the body poisoned as life futilely exceeds hope. I asked my mum what would happen if the bomb dropped. “We wouldn’t need to worry about that,” said my mum. “We live near the RAF base so we’d probably be dead before we knew about it.” I asked my mum if God was a man or a woman. “A man,” said my mum, with surprising certainty for someone who showed little sign of believing in a god of any sex. “A woman wouldn’t have made such a mess of things.”

Read the full essay at New Humanist