When Abortion Rights staged a protest outside Ann Widdecombe’s ‘Right to Life’ anti-abortion fundraiser recently, we were joined by some first-time pro-choice picketers and some new male recruits to the cause. We asked one of them for his thoughts:
AR: When did you know you were pro-choice?
Actually, it was after watching the film Juno. I started thinking about it more deeply and asked myself where I would draw the line: Do a few cells really have the same rights as a fully grown human? As a scientist, I also had to question the religious grounds of the pro-life argument. It’s a pretty wasteful system, if a creator really wanted us to make sure every possible opportunity to create life was successful, considering how much sperm is wasted…
When, if, how life starts isn’t black and white to me. Not only my scientific beliefs, but also my trust in people to make their own decisions makes me pro-choice.
AR: What did you think about your first pro-choice protest?
I was a little nervous that I would be the only guy there and maybe treated with some scepticism because I was mostly there to support my girlfriend. But I do support her and her right to make decisions about her own body.
I thought it was important for both sides of the debate to be made visible. Peaceful protest is important. If you can’t afford celebrity endorsements and Mayfair hotels, you can at least afford a mug of cocoa and to stand out in the cold waving a sign.
AR: Be honest, did you join in the chanting and sign-waving?
I didn’t do much yelling, but I did hold a sign.
In all honesty, I was happy to see other guys attending and was encouraged by the age range, but a little disappointed by the lack of ethnic diversity. In the whole of London, there should really have been more people there.
AR: So are you a pro-choice campaigner now?
Abortion isn’t just a women’s issue. It’s a women’s issue and a man’s issue and a human issue. I certainly support the movement, but it would probably take the right to abortion to be threatened before I would go to another protest. Unfortunately, we all become a complacent.