For abortion clinic staff across the UK and beyond, October has been an ongoing campaign of harassment by 40 Days for Life protesters. These anti-choice activists line the streets outside clinics, deliberately obstructing women who need abortion, counselling, or contraception from accessing these services. According to BPAS, their presence does nothing to bring down the abortion rate, but it does increase the number of late-term abortions as women delay the procedure, and causes a great deal of distress.
Anti-abortion protesters are currently targeting hospitals and clinics in London, Brighton, Manchester, Oxford, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Southampton (if you have seen them elsewhere, please comment below!)
How Can You Stop 40 Days For Life?
1. Collect any leaflets or other materials given out by 40 Days for Life, scan them, and send them to Education for Choice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
40 Days for Life have been known to give out pamphlets containing false information about the 'risks' of abortion. Education for Choice are collecting this propaganda with the aim of exposing 40 Days for Life's lies. Please also try to get the names of any counselling centres that 40 DFL protesters are referring women to - these centres are run by anti-choice groups and the 'counselling' they provide often uses emotional manipulation and false information to sway the woman's choice.
2. Donate to Education for Choice.
Please make a donation - no matter how small - to Education for Choice so that they can carry on with their vital work: providing evidence-based, impartial information about pregnancy and abortion. They work in schools and with health workers to make sure that everyone has the information they need to make reproductive choices for themselves. Donating £1 (or 50p, 20p, or whatever you can afford) for each day of 40 Days for Life means that these hateful protests are inadvertently raising money to support women to make their own decisions.
3. Contact Your MP
To get protests outside clinics shut down, we will need the help of politicians. Email your MP to let them know that women are being harassed when trying to access reproductive healthcare. Abortion Rights have a model letter that you can use. You can amend the text so that it relates to your local situation if you live in an area that is being targeted, but even if you don't it is important to get the message to government that action needs to be taken.
4. Complain to the Council
In many places, anti-abortion protests block pavements and cause offence to the public. Complain to the council to let them know that the presence of protesters outside your local clinic is a local nuisance. The council may be able to ban the protests or place limits on the number of people allowed to attend. You can complain to Camden Council about the Bedford Square protests in London by filling in this online form. In other areas, please visit your local council's website to find the department in charge of public streets, or contact your local ward councillor.
5. Join (or start) a local pro-choice organization
The need for a strong pro-choice presence in the UK is greater than ever. Consider joining or starting a pro-choice or feminist group in your area. If you need help, contact the 40 Days of Choice campaign at email@example.com for advice and support.
6. Share this post with your social networks.
Please do all that you can to raise awareness of the pro-choice cause. Thank you.
Something constructive to add? Please comment below.