Last week we did a post about anti-choice group SPUC’s campaign against gay marriage and it’s purported links to abortion rates. Most people would agree it’s a ridiculous (and offensive) approach to anti-abortion activism.
But just because they’re outdated and out of step with the public mood (not to mention challenged in the PR department) it would be wrong to dismiss SPUC as irrelevant. Their activists are busy misleading and scaremongering at school children up and down the country and right now they are running a campaign to close the BPAS clinic in Stratford, east London. And that’s what I want to focus on today.
Since the clinic, which provides a walk-in service for free emergency contraception and well as abortion services, opened in August last year, it has been the target of frequent protests by anti-choice activists – including SPUC, Helpers of God’s Precious Infants and local Catholic churches - culminating in a 200+ strong crowd who picketed the clinic earlier this month. Imagine having to face this lot when you go to get your contraception.
And shockingly SPUC have been running a scaremongering campaign aimed at residents of the building where the clinic (or abortuary as they call it) is located. Although there were no complaints during the planning permission process, SPUC are now picketing the housing association which owns the building and is encouraging residents to claim that they were misled over the nature of the premises. They’re also sending letters to residents making some pretty nasty (and incorrect) claims regarding what goes on at the site.
This is a textbook US anti-choice approach – the straightforward picketing, ‘prayer vigils’ and distress that causes to staff and clients – combined with discouraging landlords from renting to abortion providers, making it just too much of a risk to take on such tenants.
As SPUC rightly says, Newham, the East London borough where the clinic is located, has one of the highest abortion rates in the UK. It is also an area of considerable economic deprivation which has a huge need for access to free contraception, sexual health and abortion services. All of which makes it a natural target for hardline anti-choice groups.
SPUC plans to press ahead with it’s campaign in Stratford, and it looks like they might soon be joined by 40 Days for Life - always with an eye for the action.
And so it continues….