The speech I planned to deliver at Labour Women’s Conference: Migrant’s RightsFebruary 24th, 2019
Below is the speech I planned to deliver at Labour Women’s Conference. However, I wasn’t called to speak.
Rachel Burgin, Socialist Societies delegate for Christians on the Left speaking in support of the motion. This is an issue that matters a great deal to our members. Indeed, many migrant women are Christians: they are filling church pews right across the country.
Sisters, when decisions are made from a misplaced fear of “the other”, then systems often invite horrific consequences. The hostile environment has often allowed unchecked decision-making with little regard for the impact on migrant women. From destitution as a result of the “No Recourse to Public Funds” policy, to being potentially locked out by the proposed £30,000 salary cap or being trapped in a confused system with no clear outcome, a gender impact assessment is desperately needed for any new immigration system.
We in Christians on the Left believe we should treat others as we wish to be treated. And we have a biblical mandate to care for the widow, the fatherless and the immigrant.
We all need a functioning and humane health service. Those that need access to maternity services should be able to access it. Safe doctors surgeries should be the norm. The Government should develop a set of safeguards which support all mothers living in the UK to receive the maternity care that they and their baby need.
Issuing bills of £6,000 or more to pregnant women who are destitute is a pointless and destructive policy. Department of Health guidance states that women should receive maternity care even if they are unable to pay. But if that is the objective, then why are women receiving letters threatening referral to debt collectors, and the Home Office? Why are hospitals demanding immediate payment of bills of thousands of pounds?
Women who are entitled to free care are left confused by complex rules and fearful of approaching maternity services. This is a system which isn’t working.
We have a duty to our sisters, we must continue speaking truth to power and we must protect the rights of migrant women
(Special thanks to Heather Staff for her work on this).