dealing with anti-abortion protesters

“The Beginning of the End of Abortion” yeah right.

40 Days for life is an anti-abortion campaign, twice a year they spend 40 days standing outside abortion clinics across the world. Last week I attended a counter presence against 40 Days, where they stood outside an abortion clinic harassing and shouting at women to try and stop them having abortions, pushing leaflets and unwanted advice to women and girls who are already having maybe the hardest day of their lives. I’m part of a counter presence group where we stand in front of this group with pro-choice and supportive messages, in general try to protect people using the clinic from the shit-bricks stood outside.

My first shift we were very fortunate as none of them turned up - they don’t seem to be able to wake up early to do “the Lord’s work.” This is something that has happened a number of days as they simply do not have the man power to have someone standing outside a clinic everyday for 40 Days. In contrast, on my 2nd shift too many of us turned up to counter their presence, we’re bursting at the seams to support choice and abortion.

During my 2nd shift 3 vigilers arrived with signs to litter in front of the clinic: the classic anti-abortion images over exaggerated fetus' mothers and babies, Jesus on the cross ect ect. During this time a man came out of the clinic to ask what the vigilers were doing by being there. Man number 1 (age around 80) replied “We’re here to stop the murder of innocent babies.” It takes an awful strong will to not reply to such a hate-filled comment from a man clinging onto his rosary beads. How they can believe shouting something like that is really going to help somebody is delusional.

From personal experience of turning up somewhere to have an abortion, once you’re at the clinic your mind is made up. If I had seen or had to deal with vigilers at my appointments it would have just made me go to another clinic, their idea of “saving lives” is a cover to hide their spite against women making their own decisions. How many of them have adopted the babies they’ve “saved”? how many of them foster children in care? Or even give money to charities that do?

My friend wished me luck as I left to go and said “I hope its not too difficult for you!” This hadn’t even crossed my mind, I didn’t feel upset or sad about myself when I was there - there was this sadness for the other girls dealing with this especially since they had these crusty old men judging them as they go in. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel going to an abortion clinic, seeing these women who are in the same position I was in a few years ago but I felt this immense sense of pride. I felt proud for the girls going in that they’d taken charge of their situation and made the choice that best suited them and proud of the group I’m involved with to counter the anti-abortion presence. I’ll keep shouting about my abortion as long as I can because of how proud I am of getting through it!

I refuse to call people pro-life, as I don’t see them as so. They’re not pro the life of the woman who’s pregnant, they don’t care about how being pregnant might effect her, they’re not interested in what she might want to do with her life or the fact that she just doesn’t want a child. Pro-life gives off this fake aura of positivity and after standing face to face with this group for a few hours I can say there was not an ounce of positivity between them.

I don’t know what got them so fucked up in life to think shouting at people or saying 10 hail Marys will make them change their minds but, their anti-abortion and anti women values are something I can’t wrap my head around. Their main belief is that you shouldn’t have sex unless you want to have a child or as to do so is a sin…Looking at this group of people I don’t believe for a second that in their 80 years of life they only ever had sex to procreate, or lets say they did, I’m supposed to believe that they have never committed another sin? A lot of religious groups have a great habit of picking and choosing which “sins” they focus their attentions on. Some examples from The Bible:

1 Corinthians 14:34 reads:

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.”

translation: women better stay quiet in Church

Leviticus 19:19 reads:

“You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.”

translation: don’t wear polyester (I can say for certain all of the vigilers were breaking this one)

Some other of my favourite sins:

  • no seafood Leviticus 10–11

  • no working on Saturdays Exodus 31:14–15

  • no round haircuts Leviticus 19:27

  • no beard trimming Leviticus 19:27

  • and definitely no eating cheeseburgers Leviticus 3:17 

All of these sins they could focus on, they could go picket outside McDonalds for the sinners of the big mac, but no. They focus their attention on the women choosing what to do for themselves, because that’s what they’re comfortable with - questioning a woman’s choice.

Trying to stop abortion won’t stop abortion. When it was illegal here people still had them, where it is still illegal women still get them. Trying to stop abortion will never stop abortion, it only stops safe ones.