Join Donate

Recapturing the Spirit of ‘67: Humanists UK commemorates milestones of humanist activism

Fifty years on from the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality and abortion, Humanists UK is bringing together some of the UK’s leading activists for free thinking and freedom of choice for a special panel discussion event on ‘Recapturing the Spirit of 1967.’

Chaired by Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson, the event will unite figures such as Diane Munday, who played a crucial role in passing the 1967 Abortion Act; Dr Michael Irwin, assisted dying advocate and former Medical Director of the United Nations; and Professor Wendy Savage, a pro-choice activist who was awarded the British Medical Journal’s lifetime achievement award in 2009.

Commenting on the event, Andrew Copson said:

‘The Sexual Offences Act, the Family Planning Act, and the Abortion Act represented watershed moments in the history of Britain, as majorities of MPs sided with reason and evidence over superstition and fear to advance human rights and equality. They were all passed in 1967.

‘Fifty years later, we’ve seen rapid progress on fronts such as LGBT rights in many parts of the UK, but slower progress or no progress at all in other areas. In Northern Ireland, women are still denied access to abortion even when the foetus is doomed to die or if they are victims of rape. Assisted dying is backed by 80% of the population, but MPs have lacked the courage to change the law, leaving this work to sick and dying people instead. And on many issues today, especially around religion in schools, it can feel as if society is moving backwards, not forwards.

‘With this event, we hope to have a lively informed discussion and answer the question: how can we recapture that optimistic spirit of 1967?’

Recapturing the Spirit of 1967: Ethical debates then and now will take place at the Frankin-Wilkins Building in London, near Waterloo, on 25 October 2017.


At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

Search Humanists UK