Anti-abortion campaigners return to Portsmouth

The two protest groups face eachother in the grounds of St Mary's Hospital. Picture: Vernon Nash
The two protest groups face eachother in the grounds of St Mary's Hospital. Picture: Vernon Nash
Crookhorn College. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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CAMPAIGNERS against abortion are due to start a 40-day protest outside a clinic tomorrow.

American group 40 Days for Life will be in Portsmouth promoting their messages against abortion.

They are due to stand outside the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) clinic, at St Mary’s Hospital in Milton, everyday until March 25.

As previously reported in The News, the group’s last protest in the city in October was met by campaigners for pro-choice with scenes heating up between the two sides.

Last November Portsmouth City Council voted to ‘fully explore every available option to create a buffer zone’.

Speaking after last October’s protests, one clinic staff member said: ‘They pray loudly and force leaflets upon people. I felt uncomfortable, angry, and safety-conscious.’

BPAS’s Back Off campaign calls for councils and the government to introduce specific legislation to create buffer zones around clinics where anti-abortion protests cannot take place.

Chris Francis, treatment unit manager at BPAS Portsmouth, said: ‘We are very disappointed the 40 Days For Life protesters are returning, despite a clear message from residents and the council that their harassment of our clients is unacceptable.

‘We will do all we can to support the women visiting the clinic during this time.

‘We are grateful for the council’s support and we look forward to them introducing a buffer zone, so that women can access the clinic safely.’