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Thursday 24th May 2018

Abortion clinics being picketed

26th October 2010

A group of religious Texans have been holding protest pickets in front of Marie Stopes House in London.


Women who wish to terminate a pregnancy are having to walk past the protesters, who are funded by churches in the US.

The group, known as 40 Days for Life, are protesting for the first time in the United Kingdom and have been at the clinic for 35 days.

The "pro-life" group plan to stage 40 days of protests around the world, with protests outside clinics in 218 American cities, in addition to vigils in Canada, Denmark, Australia and Northern Ireland.

"Pro-choice" advocates said the protesters were inflicting stress on women and had filmed people entering and exiting the clinic.

Darinka Aleksic, campaign co-ordinator at Abortion Rights, stated that she had recorded a recent increase in these type of protests.

"American-style tactics are being increasingly used in Britain, not just with pickets but with internet campaigns and the use of misleading leafleting," she said.

"We are strongly in favour of women receiving as much support, counselling and information about abortion as possible. But we're worried about the tenor of a lot of the advice being given out by these pickets. There's a lot of emphasis on guilt and misleading scientific information," she added.

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Tuesday 26th October 2010 @ 20:27

It's not a picket, it's a prayer vigil. Everything was cleared with the police months ago. The Marie Stopes clinic was sent a letter informing them about the 40 Days for Life event. The 5-10 people who are there at any one time stand across the road. They pray quietly. No one is from Texas USA. 40 Days for Life began with two friends rather than some sort of mega bible-belt organisation.

Experienced and trained counsellors-themselves mothers-chat to the women and men who are willing to stop and talk before they enter the clinic. At least 6 women who were considering an abortion changed their mind-they were afraid, had no one to talk to, and sometimes felt under pressure from a family member or partner, as is so often the case. Many other women have contacted the counselling service provided. Not only counselling, but free pregnancy tests, free unltrasound, help with housing, relationship issues etc. It is indeed true that at least one abortion clinic worker quit her job.

No abortion clinic worker has ever been filmed. The people who work in the clinic are not the enemy - 40 Days for Life is their to pray for the clinic workers too. However, on several occasions the people praying have been filmed by passers-by -as a way of intimidating them. The people praying often experience very abusive language and insults from passers-by too. It has been noted that passers-by are usually more aggresive to the women who pray, and when there are fewer people praying.

There have also been many people who stop to have a reasoned and open debate about abortion and about why 40 Days for Life is taking place. Some are Christians, others strongly for abortion, some students, some young professionals.

I've lost count of how many people have stopped to speak to me about what 40 Days for Life is, and chat about the issues surrounding abortion. Several have spent a good 10 minutes sharing their experience of abortion with me. It's humbling and all done in good spirits.

The leaflets handed out are offering real pratical help. There is also magazine - no graphic pictures of any sort at all. Everything in it is backed by footnotes and photos of development in the womb.

I hope this short post has cleared up some of the misunderstandings generated.

With Kind Regards,

P.s. Whenever I'm at the vigil I always say good morning to the clinic manager and other staff, and they say good morning back. Hardly Texan nut jobs intimidating people.

We care about the woman, the child in her womb, the partner, and the staff at the clinic. We are not there to judge or condemn, and we are happy to continue talking about what we do and why, to any reasonable person who wants to.

sonja couroupis

Wednesday 27th October 2010 @ 7:58

My friend regularly attends clinics to offer women a final opportunity to reconsider abortion. A number of times she has come across women who were having abortions, but desperately wanted a better option. She has personally funded the births of numerous babies - one was for a young couple who were international students and did not have insurance to cover their medical expenses...needless to say they feel indebted to her for their beautiful baby who almost lost his life.
I know lots of people who do '40 Days for Life' and they are genuine, caring people who believe that babies deserve protection and intervention on their behalves.

It is just a pity that abortion providers dont share the same passion and care for these women and babies.

I can't believe that these dedicated and compassionate people are painted as the villians, not the abortionists ripping these babies apart and often scarring their mothers for life. What a sad sad world we live in!!

Annalisa Hamilton

Thursday 28th October 2010 @ 22:49

I agree with Dan and Sonja above. For the record, I have been at the prayer vigils and have not met a single American. It is a prayer vigil led by people who live in the UK. Why publish such an inaccurate article, full of lies?

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Article Information

Title: Abortion clinics being picketed
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 16516
Date Added: 26th Oct 2010


The Independent

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