Diane Munday

Diane Munday was a key member of the Abortion Law Reform Association from 1962 until 1974. Initially, she filled the roles of vice chairman and main spokesperson until, in 1968, she became the pressure group’s General Secretary. In 1974 she moved to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (the charity which she had helped to set up) and remained there for 16 years as its parliamentary, public and press relations officer.

In ALRA she was involved with four unsuccessful parliamentary attempts to liberalise the outdated 1861 legislation that, at that time, governed terminations of pregnancy but learned a great deal about parliamentary procedure and tactics as well as the vagaries surrounding Private Member’s legislation. After the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act, she continued to play  a major role in, for example,  fighting off around 20 parliamentary attempts by members of the highly vociferous anti-abortion lobby to undermine and restrict the working of the Act as well as robustly countering lies (such as those in the scurrilous and eventually, following a BPAS libel action, totally discredited book Babies for Burning) being widely promulgated about the adverse effects of legal abortion on women’s mental and physical health.

One of Diane’s fellow campaigners recalled her contribution to the campaign: “One of Diane Munday’s skills was – and is – public speaking. In fact, her records show that, between 1962 when she first became involved with the campaign and 1990 when she retired, she spoke in public more than 1000 times – to large and small meetings up and down the country, in debates and in numerous broadcasts on both radio and television.

Nevertheless, she always saw the 1967 Act as only a first step - although an essential and important one -on the way to giving individual women complete autonomy over the decision whether or not to give birth to a child. So now, after nearly three decades of retirement from “the cause”, she has been drawn back into the campaign to help in, at last, putting women in control of their bodies by decriminalising abortion in Great Britain.

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