40 Days Brighton: the facts

I recognise that abortion is a sensitive subject, so sensitive in fact that opportunities to discuss it are practically non-existent either in the private or public sphere unless something reactionary or provocative is going on. It would seem that something “provocative” is going on here in Brighton and has become something of a “hot potato” in the last few days…

40 Days for Life is an international and ecumenical prayer vigil – participants stand praying peacefully near known abortuaries. There is a 40 Days for Life campaign running this year in Brighton outside the local BPAS clinic and our Oratory is supporting it, as are Abort67. This seems to have inspired the local newspaper,The Argus to lie and deliberately misportray what is going on outside the local BPAS clinic using a sensationalist headline on today’s front page.

Quote: “Anti-abortion campaigners target women at clinic”
FACT: The “protesters” are standing in the street outside the clinic, not obstructing its entrances, not blocking the pavement and NOT targeting women specifically but being visible and available to ANYBODY passing by who might want to discuss abortion.

Quote: “Virtually every woman, including staff, is accosted by opinionated protesters as they walk through the gates of the clinic.”
FACT: The “protesters” are standing in the street outside the clinic, not obstructing its entrances, not blocking the pavement and NOT targeting women specifically but being visible and available to ANYBODY passing by who might want to discuss abortion. Nobody is being “accosted”, nobody is being “approached”, nobody is being “filmed”… If someone is obviously walking deliberately towards them, the protesters will engage – in the same manner that hundreds of leafleteers do in our streets everyday.

Quote: “I feel intimidated being filmed”
FACT: The “protesters” – as would be clearly demonstrated by playing back the films – are filming themselves and any interactions they have with members of the public exactly to disprove FALSE accusations of intimidatory behaviour. Having seen footage of the filming I can categorically state that there is no “zooming in” on any particular individual, no “following” of individuals including what direction they go in after speaking to the protesters. It is a sad fact that the protesters have had to take to filming themselves because of the lies spread by the BPAS clinic and so-called “pro-choice” campaigners. Don’t believe me? Ask to see the video footage yourself!

Quote: “They target people who are already in a vulnerable position”
FACT: The “protesters” are standing in the street outside the clinic, not obstructing its entrances, not blocking the pavement and NOT targeting women specifically but being visible and available to ANYBODY passing by who might want to discuss abortion. The fact that some of the people using the street are women on their way into the clinic is by virtue of circumstance; the pavement is a public right of way. The “vulnerability” of the women is not known to anyone else but themselves. Though the truth is, that women considering abortion and going to the BPAS clinic are increasing their vulnerability. Why? Because in their vulnerable and probably highly emotive state, they will be discussing an invasive and potentially life-changing (if not sometimes threatening) surgical procedure by abortionists who will not show pictures of the procedure, or discuss alternative options to it like adoption.

Quote: “We are aware that past protests have involved intimidating tactics and graphic images which are unacceptable and exploit women who are often in a vulnerable position.”
FACT: What “past protests” are being referred to here and what relevance have they to the current tactics being employed of silent and peaceful protest? As for the “graphic images” that have deliberately been mislabeled “late stage terminations” actually the oldest used by Abort67 is of an 11 week old abortion. As for the exploitation of women in a vulnerable position, as has been recently evidenced, BPAS clinics are NOT performing abortions according to the conditions of the Abortion Act 1967. BPAS successfully lobbied and campaigned to defeat the recent attempt by Nadine Dorries MP to allow independent (NOT necessarily Christian) counselling. As a recent Telegraph investigation has proved, in three cases BPAS doctors agreed to perform abortions based on gender-selection rather than threat to health and a Care Quality Commission investigation is now underway of BPAS clinics after another investigation discovered pre-signed authorisation forms in BPAS clinics! BPAS complains of victimisation even though it has abused its duty of care both moral and ethical according to the law.

Quote: “The right to abortion services is defined by current law” Caroline Lucas MP
FACT: Indeed it is, but NOT as “a right” but as a legalised operation under certain life-threatening conditions as set out in the Abortion Act 1967 which does NOT include “abortion on demand” or “convenience” which technically is still ILLEGAL. Yet BPAS and other abortuaries are operating as if abortion is “a right” in the UK, as are their apologists; it is NOT.

If abortion were generally regarded as “acceptable” by the majority of people, why are BPAS and the pro-abortion lobby so fearful of its exposure? Why can’t we have a rational rather than sensationalist debate? If women are so vulnerable, why not offer them counselling from truly independent sources that discuss adoption and other options for continuing pregnancy as well as abortion? Why offer them only one option, that which is of all possible options the most risky of all, as any major operation is and has been proven to put women at increased psychological risk.

The Brighton Oratory supports the peaceful prayer vigil as a way of being visibly available to people at what we agree, is a very vulnerable time. This has been criticised as “insensitive”. But do we not pray for healing over people who are ill, sometimes mentally ill or disabled with no possibility of a cure? Why is that not insensitive too?  Two or three people standing quietly and praying in the street is not intimidatory, it is not threatening, no slogans or insults are being shouted and nobody is being filmed entering or leaving the clinic. Certainly it is no more overt or intimidating than nude cyclists on the Naked Bike Ride or marchers on Pride parades demonstrating their sexuality! Go and look for yourself. Being quietly visible does make people stop and think, and it has changed hearts and minds and attitudes towards what is a very sensitive and very serious life-changing decision.

The facts are plain, BPAS does not offer all possible options to vulnerable women consulting about unwanted pregnancies, neither does it offer comprehensive counselling post “treatment”; it only offers and discusses abortion. Several women have already changed their mind in the last few weeks and are being supported both emotionally and materially to see through their previously unwanted/inconvenient pregnancy. Christians motivated by charity are putting charity into action, they are being loving. Believing Jesus would be “with them” in their hour of need, we don’t believe it un-loving to pray for people at an acutely vulnerable time and if going to an abortion clinic, whether for a consultation or for an abortion isn’t an hour of need, when is? “What would Jesus do?” We don’t think he’d do nothing.

I’m afraid the notion that extremism is entering the ProLife campaign in the UK is just hyperbole. There is no evidence of that at all. None of the UK ProLife charities support vocal demonstrating or intimidatory behaviour and there is no actual evidence to prove the suggestion, in fact quite the opposite. This is just the media scaremongering. This is not about “rights” this is about the killing of innocents. dehumanising language like “human embryo” does not alter the fact we’re talking about babies.

We believe that God is Love [1 John 4]; God’s Love is made manifest in Jesus [John 3:16]; Jesus is Life [John 1:4, 14:6]; thus Life is Sacred. We find the taking of life, under most circumstances irreconcilable with our understanding of Jesus as the source of all Life [John 1:1-4] i.e. with Who Jesus Is. We appreciate that under very particular and acute circumstances abortion may be an extreme necessity as envisioned by the Abortion Act 1967, but we certainly could not support it as a “norm” or as a “right”. If the conditions of the Abortion Act 1967 were generally adhered to, we would not now also be campaigning for its abolition, but unfortunately the Act seems to have been abused and to have facilitated an admitted culture of “abortion on demand” often for reasons of “convenience” rather than ethics including “gender selection”. Similarly euthanasia, suicide and obviously murder are inconceivable to us.

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