The weekend before last saw anti-choice groups from across the country performing "roadside vigils" encouraging motorists to return us to the dark days of illegal abortion. Quite why they decided to target this demographic is uncertain - presumably they had watched Clarkson's uncontested chauvenist ramblings on Top Gear and hoped they might garner the support of opinionated 4x4 drivers belching their way through the city centre.
The vigil in Bristol was attended by Bristol Students for Life and promoted by the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC), both of whom I have written about before. With only a few days notice, several Bristol groups rallied for a counter-protest, outnumbering the anti-choicers 4-to-1 despite the short amount of time in which to organise. An interesting addition was the Bristol Anarchists who had promised the day before the protest to "be occupying the space and engaging [the anti-choicers] directly."
|Bristol Feminist Network, University of Bristol Feminist Society, University of Bristol Atheist, Agnostic and Secular Society, Bristol Secular Society and many others joined forces to counter-protest|
|Members of the University of Bristol Atheist, Agnostic and Secular Society|
|Gav from the Bristol Secular Society|
There is a danger that the situation in the UK could degrade to the tragic situation in the US where vigils staking-out abortion clinics and attacks on abortion doctors are more common, putting vulnerable people at risk. We must be careful not to allow anti-choice groups to position the pro-choice position as pro-abortion (which is isn't) and to make sure our response to them continues to be clear, measured and rational.