Last Friday afternoon I took some time out of my afternoon to stand on Tyndall Road in the crisp November air and watch some deeply misguided people display giant pictures of foetuses. They belonged to a group called Abort67 who have been touring university campuses with the aim of shocking people into becoming anti-abortion.
|Pro-choice students counter-protesting against Abort67|
I didn't have time to take a picture of their larger banners, though, as students swiftly swept into action, covering the pictures with a giant banner saying "This union is Pro-Choice!" Like other similar organisations, they profess to be secular, yet their religious motivations are clear, with biblical scripture on one of the placards I managed to get a photo of.
|See, it's OK, because women don't count as "every one"|
After all were in place, little further happened. The protest was peaceful, with the occasional snipe from the Abort67 members, "What would your mother say if you told her you'd had an abortion?"
Whilst peaceful, I felt uneasy about the covering of Abort67's placards. Having banged on about freedom of speech before, it seems that this right must be granted to all, not just to those with whom we agree. I brought this up with some of the counter-protesters there and they justified what they were doing by saying that they were preventing harm and distress to students and also to the children at the local school and, indeed, a bunch of children on a bikeability session passed the protest site. I felt a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, questioning the actions of clearly awesome people who'd taken time out of their afternoon to stand up for what they believed in.
Turning the question round, I was asked "what is the alternative?" Caitlin G, ever the wag, suggested satirising their use of the "disgust factor" by staging an even more horrific counter protest with placards displaying a gangrenous leg or a body disinterred from a lead coffin (something she reliably informs me is particularly nasty). Others suggested "blue waffle" (DON'T Google that!). This solution, though clever, does risk turning Tyndall Avenue into a street of fleshy nightmares.
Perhaps the solution is to go entirely the other way. Who would want to walk on the foetusy side of the street when on the other are fluffeh duckies and mittens?
If they come back to Bristol, I WILL make this!