"I WILL not go silently back into the 1950s."

A woman's placard is held high, above a gaggle of protesters in Missouri angered at the actions of several US states in introducing new laws to restrict abortions.

One state, Iowa, banned any abortions after the foetus has a heartbeat, which is around six weeks' of pregnancy.

The conservative men who passed that draconian law probably wouldn't realise that six weeks' pregnancy means a woman's period is just two weeks late. By the time they've done the First Response test, in most cases, it will be too late to even consider abortion.

The Iowa senate is made up of 50 politicians. Just four of them are women.

This really is about men making decisions about what happens to women's bodies. And I thought the #metoo movement had brought women's rights on a generation. I was mistaken.

Mississippi has also banned abortions after 15 weeks, but with no exceptions for women who are victims or rape or incest. They are punishing these vulnerable women.

Abortion, in some form, has always existed, from drinking herbal concoctions in the Middle Ages to the fabled method of gin and a hot bath, or to brutal back-street abortion clinics.

There were tales of emergency hospital wards before abortion was legalised, where women would be brought in bleeding from the butchery of these clinics, or from their own desperate attempts to self-abort, and in the worst cases would die of their injuries. The 'luckier' ones would be left with severe trauma or infertile.

Abortion might be an uncomfortable issue but I think very few women - and men - take the decision lightly or use it as a disorganised form of contraception.

The more backward states in the US have taken their lead from Donald Trump, who in January declared that he thought laws allowing abortion were 'wrong'.

I've mentioned before I thought the world could go the dystopian way of The Handmaid's Tale, but the US just took another baby step towards it. When extreme religion rather than common sense is allowed to determine the laws of the land, it is a very dangerous path we tread.

NIGEL Farage is trying to pin the blame for British Steel's collapse on European emission rules.

I almost spat my tea out when I read that.

First, emission rules are in place and necessary to prevent cities such as London being underwater in just 80 years. If you think I'm doom-mongering then read the latest research by climate change scientists.

And second, the chief executive of British Steel himself did not mention emission regulations this week when he listed the reasons for the company's collapse.

In fact, he mentioned weak market demand, high raw material prices, the weak pound – which plunged even further yesterday amid government chaos over exiting the EU – and the uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit discussions.

Brexit, which was championed by Nigel Farage, who told us it would be great for business, was in fact the final nail in the coffin for British Steel. Don't forget that when you vote today.