On Monday 30thJanuary, the leader of hardline anti-abortion group Abort67 made his latest court appearance in connection with protests outside the BPAS Wistons clinic in Brighton.
Abort67 supporters have been protesting regularly outside the clinic, displaying graphic pictures of aborted foetuses and causing distress to clients and staff. Protesters have allegedly surrounded and intimidated women and even asked for their phone numbers so that they could ‘keep track’ of them.
A woman who ran the gauntlet of protesters recently said: “It makes you feel more scared than you were before. It’s wrong to make you feel uncomfortable – they continued to talk as we tried to walk away and wouldn’t accept our views. It’s very intimidating.”
The mother of one young client commented: “Standing outside, abusive remarks, calling my daughter a murderer, shoving pics and forms in our faces – very upsetting.”
Previous protests at the same location, which also saw police involvement, have seen activists reportedly filming clinic staff and patients entering the premises.
Abort67 [warning graphic content] is a particularly unpleasant group. It is allied to the militant ‘Center for Bioethical Reform’, an anti-abortion organisation which tours university campuses in the USA and Canada, touting its ‘Genocide Awareness Project’ which compares abortion to the Nazi Holocaust in graphic terms.
The groups are so close that Abort67 is hosting a talk by the Center for Bioethical Reform’s founder in London on Tuesday 31st January.
Abort67 are following in the Centre’s footsteps. The leaflet distributed to women entering the Brighton clinic is not only riddled with inaccuracies (for example, that foetuses can feel pain from 5 weeks) and offensive language (mentioning ‘strangling kittens’ and ‘hosing down’ children with an Uzi) but with references to Hitler, genocide and the extermination of Jews.
What is less well known is that backing Abort67 is the Jubilee Community Church, an evangelical Christian congregation in Worthing. The church supports both the aims and the methods of Abort67. The group’s founder is a member and sometime preacher at the church, hosting online web forums on abortion and preaching sermons on the issue. Recently, the church even held a Cake Sale in support of the group.
While Abortion Rights respects the rights of those who object to abortion to express their opinions openly, we feel that intimidatory tactics which target individual women as they seek to access legal medical treatment is unacceptable.
We feel it is reasonable to ask Jubilee Church to stop supporting the work of Abort67 and to find an alternative means of expressing their anti-choice views, directed towards public opinion rather than targeting individual women.
Email Jubilee Community Church here