An anti-abortion group protesting in Brighton have come under attack from pro-choice residents.
Abort67 protest outside the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) Clinic on Dyke Road, Brighton, every Tuesday and Thursday morning.
The group use graphic imagery to protest against abortions in a place where vulnerable women will be attending appointments to terminate unwanted pregnancies.
Their website uses similarly graphic imagery to discourage women from exercising their right to choose whether or not they have a child.
Brighton Pro Choice, a campaign group that formed at the end of 2011, held an open meeting on Monday 30th January to discuss the issues that Abort67, and other recent anti-abortion initiatives, have raised.
Approximately 40 people travelled to the meeting, including local residents and pro-choice advocators from as far as Basingstoke. Speakers included Beth Granter, who started a campaign against MP Nadine Dorries’ bill for teaching abstinence to girls.
The group’s organiser, Johanna Samuelson, said: “We support the e-mailing campaign that Abortion Right have just started, where we put pressure on local MPs and institutions to support the fight against this kind of protest. We aim to work together with trade unions and local schools, as well as residents local to the clinic.”
The group’s aim is to empower and support the people who work at the clinic, and those who use it.
The Abort67 website states: “We would like to see the law reversed giving full protection to the unborn.The best way to achieve this goal of changing public policy is to first change public opinion.”
Ms. Samuelson said: “We recognise that we have differing opinions to the anti-choice protesters and that we do not seek to change their opinions. What we do want is to stop them from showing distressing imagery and giving out false information on the streets of Brighton, and especially outside the abortion clinic itself.”
Abort67 claim to condemn all violence, whether that violence is towards the vulnerable in our society or towards abortionists who are killing the unborn.
However, Brighton Pro Choice acknowledges the use of Abort67’s socially violent tactics, including “giving out leaflets that compare abortion to the holocaust, and that claim that abortion leads to bad mental health.”
Visitors to the clinic also report violent behaviour, with the mother of a young patient describing the group “standing outside, [making] abusive remarks, calling my daughter a murderer, shoving pictures and forms in our faces – very upsetting.”
Abortion Rights, affiliated with Brighton Pro Choice, said: “We feel that intimidatory tactics which target individual women as they seek to access legal medical treatment is unacceptable.”
There will be a further meeting at 6pm on Tuesday 7 February, at the Cowley Club Social Centre, London Road, Brighton. The group can be found on Facebook at “Brighton Pro-Choice”.