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Blackfriars abortion clinic controversy reaches Parliament

A controversy over the presence of protesters outside an abortion clinic at a Southwark GP surgery has reached the Houses of Parliament.

Blackfriars abortion clinic controversy reaches Parliament

Last month we reported on the protests organised by the Abort67 campaign outside the Blackfriars Medical Practice in Colombo Street.

The protesters object to the GP surgery's decision to host a clinic run by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS).

So far more than 1,500 people have signed a petition against the abortion clinic whilst a counter-petition objecting to the protesters and their tactics has attracted nearly 3,000 signatures.

This week Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, tabled an early day motion (EDM) in the House of Commons.

The EDM, which has so far only gain the support of one other MP – Conservative Peter Bottomley – claims that Abort67's tactics have caused "great distress" to staff and patients at the clinic.

Full text of EDM

That this House is extremely concerned about the significant upsurge in anti-abortion activism targeting clinics; would like to draw attention to the ongoing protests outside the British Pregnancy Advisory Service clinic in Blackfriars where activists are staging large protests of over 20 people, a mix of men and women activists carrying graphic posters; is concerned that activists are also routinely entering the surgery, causing great distress to staff and patients and are specifically targeting the mother and baby clinic, handing expectant mothers graphic leaflets and that they are directly approaching women and passers-by, and filming conversations with members of the public without informing or asking for consent first; notes with concern that the practice now feels so intimidated that it has asked to close the service down; further notes that these protests are particularly concerning because they are obstructing women from receiving the medical help that they are entitled to; while recognising that these groups are legally entitled to protest, feels that they should not be allowed to harass those women who decide to seek this sort of treatment; and calls on the relevant authorities to take immediate action to stop the protestors from harassing patients and staff on a routine basis.

Ruth Rawlins of Abort67 said: "We show photographic evidence of the victims of abortion to allow people to come to their own conclusions. If the images are intimidating it is simply because the act of dismembering, decapitating and disembowelling a tiny human being is intimidating.

"If abortion is such a noble choice why does seeing it cause outrage amongst its supporters? It isn't wrong to empower women with facts; what is wrong is for BPAS and their supporters to systematically deceive women at what can be a difficult, emotional time in their life.

"We have documented examples of women telling us that, had they seen the reality of abortion, their child may be alive today. Furthermore, they felt they were lied to by the abortion provider.

"The reason that abortion supporters lose control when we expose abortion is because it makes it impossible for them to maintain the lie that abortion is healthcare. That is why they make false allegations about our behaviour. More and more people are becoming pro-life as a result of our work."

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