The Cost of Being Pro-Life
Caroline Farrow has an excellent blog post chronicling the currently escalating polemic between the pro-life & pro-death factions in the abortion row. She posts a very telling quotation made on the Bloomsbury Pro-choice website on the 25th of March, by a potential pro-choice supporter, as follows: -
I was in attendance today at Bedford Square and I saw all of what occured, from the moment of the table-move onwards, and I have to say that I was utterly disgusted.
Perhaps I honestly could have believed that 40DfL were intimidating women entering the clinics, perhaps I could have been sympathetic to tea, biscuits and balloons, or your arguments and literature – but honestly, every chance of that died today.
The true face of the so-called ‘pro-choice’ movement was shown today – not in the cozy strumming of guitars or sun-bathing, but in the direct aggression and intimidation employed against those praying with 40DfL. You can both have quiet protests in corners, or even loud ones, but to move camps deliberately to (as you correctly state) a metre from the opposing protest is a terrifying move to make – one that has lost you both supporters and potential allies today. What possible good motive can there have been to shift tables and demonstrators to right infront of another demonstration? Imagine if Bobby Copper had been there, and seen you shifting selves and equipment in what could be construed as direct provocation. By blocking their signs you denied their right to protest.
What would that same policeman say, if he then saw you turning a megaphone towards to face those you criticise for intimidation, and to all chant at only a few feet from them all sorts of attacks? All this while you filmed them, some so close that the cameras practically touched them. Then members of your counter-demonstration danced around mockingly pretending to be Jesus on the cross, as per Monty Python, or mocked the religion of those attending saying “You’re talking to an imaginary friend!” and “No one can hear you!” among other things. THAT is intimidation – a few Catholics praying is something of an entirely different order.
You were here for most all of this – you did not put a stop to it, even though it was beneath your banner (and that of the Socialist Worker). If you can still, after what occured today, invite everyone who partook of it back for Friday’s demo, refer to them as awesome and give only the slightest apology (not merely grudging, but at every point self-justifying through comparison with 40DfL’s entirely less threatening activities) then I can have no respect for you or your group. I have little doubt that you will have done nothing today but have strengthened the resolved of the pro-lifers, and made sure that as many as possible attend to oppose your vicious tactics on Friday. The mockery of their religion, the shouting in their faces, and the deliberate occupation of the same corner can only be used by them as a propaganda coup. What does it matter how many numbers turn up on Friday, when those whom you bring on Sundays act like that?