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15 / 10 / 2010 - Britain Needs Graphic Images of Abortion to Spark Debate: Christian Legal Centre Head
Britain is “a society where there is a massive denial about the true nature of abortion” that needs to see graphic images of abortion to shake complacency and spark a meaningful public debate, Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre told the BBC last week.
Williams’s comments came as part of a debate on Radio 4 with Ann Furedi, the head of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Britain’s busiest abortionist organization, in the wake of the arrest of two pro-life advocates who were arrested for using graphic signs outside a BPAS facility in Brighton in September.
“I think it is very vital in our nation that we begin to have an open and public debate about the true nature of abortion. And it would be wonderful, would it not, to see legislation in place … where women are able to understand, before they get to the BPAS clinic, the true nature of what abortion is,” Williams said.
Furedi, a hard-left feminist who has sometimes clashed with the hard core of the abortionist movement, recently wrote in the Independent that doctors should retain the legal right to refuse to participate in abortion. However, she opened her comments saying that she was proud of the work of the Brighton facility, and boasted that they commit up to 4000 abortions a year there, “some of them quite late” and some for “foetal abnormalities.”
“I firmly support anyone’s right to protest,” Furedi said, “…but that is actually different from harassing people who are coming into a clinic.
“Because the clients that we see, they’re not coming to have an abortion as a demonstration of support for abortion. We don’t exercise the right to abortion like the right to vote. They’re coming because they have a medical problem and we’re helping them.”
Andrea Williams, however, corrected Furedi’s claim that abortion is a medical issue. British abortion statistics continue to show that the great majority of abortions carried out are for “social,” not medical reasons. She said, “Of course, we have immense compassion for the woman who is caught in an unplanned pregnancy. But there is also another life at stake here, that of the unborn child.”
She denied that Kathryn Sloane and Andy Stephenson were harassing anyone. They were, she said, “standing peacefully and quietly outside the clinic.” They were protesting lawfully, she said, “and part of protest, part of trying to bring [abortion] into the public consciousness is about bringing imagery into the public consciousness.
“They do this regularly, and people’s minds are actually changed as a result. They certainly do not take photographs. They have a picture of the reality of what goes on inside the clinics.”
Furedi agreed that there should be a “full” debate about abortion, but denied that BPAS was “pro-abortion,” saying they supported only “choice.” “No one is doing anything they don’t want to do … Women are not in ignorance.”
Williams countered saying that the issue is not only about a woman in a crisis pregnancy, but about the right of the child to not be killed.
“Whilst it is right to be concerned about the feelings of women, we also have to ask ourselves about the feelings of the unborn child. We were all embryos once. If we could speak from the womb, would we not ask to live?”
Andy Stephenson, 35 and Kathryn Sloane, 18, were arrested when they refused to take down signs displaying graphic images of abortion. They will meet with the Crown Prosecution Service tomorrow to find out if the charges under the Public Order Act will be prosecuted.
U.S. pro-life advocates have called the arrest of Stephenson and Sloane a test case for freedom of expression on life issues in Britain. Stephenson, head of the pro-life campaign group Abort 67, agrees, saying that he hopes that the Crown Prosecution Service decides to prosecute under the Public Order Act, to give the issue a hearing in the courts.
He told LifeSiteNews.com today, “We’re quite keen to make sure we’re able to defend ourselves.” He said that the group has had support from all sides of the debate in a Britain in which there is increasing concern about the erosion of civil liberties.
“The support has been good from pro-aborts. They’ve been fairly shocked at the lack of freedom of expression and speech. It’s been an interesting time and we’re building on that common ground.
“We’re not just trying to break ground for the pro-life movement, but everyone who wants to enjoy civil liberties in the UK.”
He objected to Furedi’s claim that they were harassing BPAS clients. Furedi told the BBC the pair were “waving cameras around threatening to photograph clients” and “abusing them as they are coming into the clinic.”
But Stephenson said the cameras were there to provide accurate and irrefutable evidence in the case of legal actions. “We were concerned with her description of our display,” he said, calling it a “mischaracterization.” The group has written to Furedi demanding a retraction.
“In everything we do, we always ask permission before we film other people. We’ve never been rude to anybody. We’re hoping we have a chance to fight this in the courts. [Without a court case] we’re not going to get established protection of law.”
Source: Hilary White - LifeSiteNews.com