Last autumn, BPAS opened a new clinic in Stratford, London, to provide a free walk-in service and was met almost immediately with protests by members of the Christian Peoples Alliance party, 40 days for Life and SPUC with some local residents. According to the Newham Recorder of 2 November 2011:
The protest was opened by Alan Craig, ex-Newham councillor and former leader of Newham Christian People’s Alliance […]
Joining Alan was Dr Majid Katme from the Islamic Medical Association. He said: “Today is not a one-off event, but only the beginning of this campaign.” Friar Mark Swires, a local Catholic priest, also led the group in prayer outside the BPAS centre.
It seems that Dr Majid Katme’s statement is not without foundation; indeed, it looks as though the protest has now escalated from handing out magazines and flyers outside the clinic. As the Newham Recorder reported on 13 January 2012:
Around 15 residents and neighbours addressed a petition to Mike Sweeny, chief executive of One Housing, claiming they were misled by the planning application for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) centre on Romford Road which simply read “clinic” online.
The campaign is now continuing with a team of protestors distributing information flyers outside the association’s base in Chalk Farm, north London.
Daniel Blackman, speaking for SPUC, added: “This was just the first of our protests outside One Housing. We plan to be back”.
As Clare Murphy, for BPAS, says (and personally, I’m inclined to agree with her):
BPAS is a charity that has worked to support women for over 40 years and we are pleased that we are now able to provide care in East London. It is disappointing that groups with an ethical objection to abortion are seeking to start a campaign to stop women getting access to sexual health services they need.
[Public domain image via Wikipedia Commons]