London pro-choice protest challenges controversial anti-choice abortion group


A counter protest took place on Friday in London’s Bedford Square to oppose a month-long pro-life abortion demonstration.


By Helen Wright

A counter protest took place on Friday in London’s Bedford Square to oppose a month-long pro-life abortion demonstration.

For the last 40 days, ‘40 Days for Life’ – an anti-choice abortion group – campaigned outside the British Pregnancy Advice Services (bpas) clinic. 

They handed out leaflets providing medical misinformation, filmed women and bpas staff entering the clinic, and tried to intimidate women into changing their minds.

Sunday was the last day of 40 days for Life’s annual protest at Bedford Square. 

The counter protest on Friday was organized by, Bloomsbury Pro-Choice Alliance and the British Humanist Society to show opposition to the anti-choice views of the 40 Days group.

Kerry Johnson founded the Bloomsbury Pro-choice Alliance after seeing the 40 Days for Life in Bedford Square in February.

“They are such a tiny minority but incredibly vocal, we wanted to show others that there was a counter presence,” she said.

The peaceful protest was organized to coincide with a prayer vigil hosted by Alan Hopes, the auxiliary bishop of Westminster.

The pro-choicers waved placards, blew whistles, banged drums and chanted slogans such as: “Stop harassing women” and “keep your rosaries off our ovaries” at the prayer vigil.

The pro-choice protestors outnumbered the 40 days group by 2 to 1, and certainly made a bigger impact.

Protester Ella Ingram, 21, a student from LSE, said: “That they [40 Days for Life] think they have the right to come outside and upset women on one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives, makes me really angry.

“I wanted to come today to show that the majority of people do not agree with them, and their viewpoint.  It’s not as simple as they think it is.”

Throughout the protest period bpas, who have branches in Streatham and Richmond, received overwhelming support from the general public.

Clare Murphy, head of press at bpas, said: “We have been touched by an outpouring of support in recent weeks.

“One in three women will end a pregnancy in her lifetime and so most people know someone who has had an abortion, because it was the right decision for her, at that time in her life.” 

Darinka Aleksic, of, said: “We think it’s unacceptable to target individuals and abortion clinics. 

“People are trying to access a legal medical procedure and there are more constructive ways for people to advance their cause.”

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