Anger as anti-abortion protesters return to Portsmouth clinic

ANTI-ABORTION campaigners are protesting outside a clinic in Portsmouth.

Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 4:12 pm
Anti abortion protesters outside St Mary's Hospital in Milton.

The group is standing outside St Mary’s Hospital, in Milton Road, which has the British Pregnancy Advisory Service clinic on campus.

A woman, who did not want to be named, passes the hospital every day on her way to work for a company in Southsea and spotted the group today.

The 37-year-old said: ‘This is the first time I have seen them since last year and I think it is unacceptable that they are back.

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Anti-abortion campaigners return to Portsmouth for 40-day protest

‘What people are going through is difficult enough without people trying to force their message down your throat. Those going to those appointments are burdened and they have already made a really hard decision.

‘The campaigners want to change their mind but I don’t think they should unless they promise to be there for emotional support for the rest of that person and their child’s life.’

Between February and March last year American group 40 Days for Life were in Portsmouth protesting against the clinic.

The group prays and fasts for 40 days outside of abortion clinics, or hospitals that perform abortions.

In October 2017, the group was met by campaigners for pro-choice with scenes heating up between the two sides.

Both groups were marshalled by the police.

In November of the same year Portsmouth City Council voted to ‘fully explore every available option to create a buffer zone’.

BPAS has been running a Back Off campaign to get specific legislation to ensure women can access pregnancy advice and abortion centres free from interference and intimidation.

The BPAS campaign website said: ‘We propose the establishment of ‘buffer’ or ‘access’ zones around registered pregnancy advisory bureaux and clinics, in which anti-abortion activity cannot take place. 

‘We believe limiting the ability to interfere with women as they try to access a lawful medical service in confidence does not represent an undue restriction on our existing freedoms.

‘These people have every right to campaign for greater restrictions on women’s reproductive choices and there are plenty of opportunities and locations in which to do so. However the space immediately outside a clinic should not be one of them.’