Today marks the first day of Lent and the first day of the regular 40 Days of Life anti-choice protest, which this year is targeting abortion clinics.
Last year we launched Christians for Choice to express our opposition to this kind of behaviour – in a way that will not simply inflame the situation at clinics and increase stress for service users.
We believe 40 Days for Life are co-opting Lent, a time for solemn religious observance, to forward their agenda to stop abortion. Instead of using this period as a time for self-reflection and helping others, they use Lent as an opportunity to harass and intimidate women who choose to access a safe, legal procedure. Cloaking the targeting of abortion clinics as a Christian act during a period of religious reflection is deeply wrong.
40 Days for Life are an Evangelical Christian anti-choice group whose mission is to ‘bring an end to abortion’. Their main activity is carrying out what they describe as ‘peaceful vigils’ outside facilities that provide abortions. These ‘vigils’ involve a constant presence outside of clinics for 40 days over the period of Lent.
In 2018, women accessing abortion in the UK should be entitled to safe and unobstructed access. The victimisation of any person accessing any other medical treatment would be publicly condemned, and so should the activity of groups such as 40 Days for Life. Upholding a faith, Christian or otherwise does not give anyone the right to deny women of their choice for our faith is strongest when we choose to believe. That’s why we support Abortion Rights’ ‘March for Choice’ on the 5th of May & will be protesting with our pro-choice sisters.
Notes to editors:
- Our media team would be happy to provide further quotes, press images and information. Media contact Edem Barbara Ntumy (07879403306)
- Read our full statement here
- Supporters can join Christians for Choice here
- A YouGov poll for the ÔWestminster Faith DebatesÔ and reported in The Guardian found the percentage of the population wanting a ban has fallen from 12% in 2005 to 7% today. http://www.abortionrights.org.
- Abortion Rights is the national pro-choice campaign, working to defend and extend abortion rights and provide a pro-choice voice to the media. Since 1967 the Abortion Act has enabled women to access abortions in England, Wales and Scotland. One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime.
- Abortion Rights, as a pro-choice campaign, is firmly against anyone’s bodily autonomy being ignored or overridden.