Wednesday, 14 March 2012

BPAS concerned by anti-abortion tactics

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Anti-abortion protesters across from the BPAS building in
Bedford Square, London (Photo by Sunny Hundal)
Following on from yesterday's post on the "40 Days for Life" picket outside the British Pregnancy Advisory Service building in Bedford Square, central London, it's worth noting that BPAS themselves have now expressed concern about the tactics being used by anti-abortion campaigners. Speaking to the Guardian about the "40 Days" campaign, which this week claimed on Twitter that it had achieved a "turnaround" in persuading a woman attending the clinic not to go ahead with an abortion, a BPAS spokesperson said abortion providers face a "new era" of US-style campaigns:
"The language that has been used by MPs very definitely has consequences in terms of what protesters are now saying to women outside of our clinics," she said.

"A culture seems to be being fostered where protesters (when they are not filming) think it is entirely acceptable to harangue women outside centres and tell them if they go inside they will be lied to. There is certainly evidence of women being really quite distressed and feeling intimidated on what can already often be quite a difficult day for them."
BPAS say they are looking to raise their concerns with the Department of Health.

Meanwhile, Education for Choice (a project run by the sexual health charity Brook) have published a useful exposé of some of the literature being handed out by protesters from 40 Days for Life. Leaflets given to women outside the BPAS clinic direct them to the Central London Women's Centre, which Education for Choice has investigated using "mystery shopper" visits. They have found that the centre uses pseudoscience and shock tactics to discourage women from going ahead with abortions – in audio recorded during a visit, a counsellor at the centre is heard saying that "the risk of getting cancer after an abortion is 100%" and that "many women have many miscarriages from abortion".

Also, blogger Sunday Hundal went to Bedford Square to take some photos and meet the protesters. You can read his report over on Liberal Conspiracy.

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