Pro-choice group protests against anti-abortionists in Portsmouth

PROTESTERS against an anti-abortion group's vigil outside a clinic in the city held their own counter-protest.

Sunday, 1st October 2017, 10:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th October 2017, 10:36 am

Campaigners from the 40 Days For Life Portsmouth group have been sitting outside St Mary’s Health Centre, home of the BPAS abortion clinic in Milton Road, Portsmouth, since September 27.

Pro-choice campaigners launched their own counter-protest on Saturday branding 40 Days For Life’s actions as intimidating and emotionally insensitive to women using the clinic.

Rachael Black, 35, from Southsea, protested against the anti-abortion group on Saturday.

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She said: ‘I think that what they are doing is absolutely disgusting.

‘There will be a lot of women going into that clinic over the course of this month and it just seems incredibly inappropriate for them to be there.

‘A few of us have tried to make banners and block it out – these women have made an incredibly difficult choice and should not be shamed for it.

‘The group has got rubber foetuses and other things with them. I just can’t imagine how awful it makes people feel, it’s sickening.’

Liz Masebo from 40 Days For Life said the aim was not to intimidate people.

She said: ‘We haven’t been protesting, we have been praying.

‘The group that is down there has not been approaching people – but we will talk to them if they wish to speak to us.

‘Children in schools are being told that abortion is totally fine, when in our view that isn’t the case.’

Asked about the protest being held near a school she said it was ‘only right that young people know all the facts’.

She added: ‘The fact is that we are all so against animal cruelty but still show cruelty to other human beings.’

The 40 Days For Life group plans to be outside BPAS until November 5 – but Rachael said that they could not go unchallenged.

She said: ‘If they plan on sticking around, then so do we – these women who are being shamed need our support during a time that is so difficult for them.

‘When it comes to something like this, you should never feel ashamed for your choices.’

For independent advice on whether you should seek an abortion, you can call the Marie Stopes UK helpline on 0345 300 8090.