Protestors clash over a woman's right to choose.
We watched a planned anti-abortion protest get blockaded this weekend as pro-lifers tried to harass women at an East London abortion clinic.
Activists from Feminist Fightback, a group fighting for “reproductive justice”, blocked their path, refusing to let anyone stop women exercising autonomy over their own bodies.
As the rain came down, and a car made its way towards them, a group of protestors stood strong, refusing to let those driving scare them in to submission.
The protestors, a group called Feminist Fightback, came together on Saturday morning to confront Christian pro-life campaigners in front of an East London church.
The religious group were on their way to rally outside of an abortion clinic in London, hoping to turn pregnant women away.
Feminist Fightback called a counter-protest, as they believe the right to choose is being threatened. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, still believes that abortion is a “grave evil”.
“We are here to resist what we see as a very big problem,” said Josie Foreman, a member of Feminist Fightback. “This is a problem that is on the rise in Britain. We want to stop women being harassed from accessing something that is a legal, human and a feminist right.”
The weekend’s events started when Feminist Fightback began marching towards an East London church. After a few quirky, pro-life edits of popular pop-songs, such as Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’, and ‘Lord of My Ovaries’ sang to the tune of Lord of the Dance.
As the protestors were playing instruments and singing songs, tensions were soon rising as campaigners emerged to head to a local clinic.
In their car, the church members tried to push through the crowd, who refused to let them pass. “God is making it rain on you”, shouted an angry monk desperate to make his way to the clinic.
With protestors still refusing to let the Christian group through, one of the nuns threatened to run them down in the car, and a heated argument ensued. The church also threatened to call the police, but they never did.
These American style protests, where religious groups gather outside of abortions clinics displaying graphic literature, are becoming a regular thing the United Kingdom. Over half of the UK’s abortion clinics have reported regular demonstrations.
Paul Hall, a pro-choice protestor, told Huck: “I have an issue with people trying to intimidate others from exercising something that is legal in this country. Women have the right to make this choice without being harassed.”
“I think that it’s inconceivable in today’s age that there are groups of individuals, religious individuals in particular, that are allowed to humiliate, distress and intimidate women and families that are making a legal choice about their reproductive rights,” Catherine Wardal explained, a librarian who attended the event on Saturday.
Despite it being 2016, safe abortions remain illegal and out of reach to women in tens of countries around the globe. Up to 1,000 women die every year as a result of unsafe abortions in the Philippines, In El-Savador, the government recently advised women to stop having children, because of the Zika virus, yet refuses to offer contraception, sending women who have abortions to prison.
With it looking increasingly unlikely that the pro-life campaigners would be making their way down to harass women outside the clinic, they soon gave up, heading back into the church to think of something else to do with their Saturday afternoon.
“Abortion is a really difficult decision that women need to have the right to make,” said Rosa, another attendee at the protest, who did not give her surname. “If you make it illegal then women will give themselves abortions, the demand will not go away. I think it’s really important to defend the right women have over their own bodies and that they have the right to choose.”