The Christian Legal Centre’s Roger Kiska discusses how our right to protest abortion is being eroded by the very people who have vowed to protect free speech.
“Nothing worth having comes without a fight—Got to kick at the darkness ‘til it bleeds daylight.”
Increasingly, it would seem, cultural forces are aggressively trying to wipe out any dissenting views about abortion. On University Campuses across the country, students’ unions are adopting totalitarian pro-abortion policies which seek to prohibit the affiliation of pro-life student groups and no platform any pro-life activities. Such policies are not only woefully anti-democratic, they are often unlawful.
Anti-life students’ unions
In the last year, legal challenges were successfully brought against the Students’ Unions at Glasgow University, the University of Strathclyde and Aberdeen University. Cardiff University’s pro-choice policy was also amended following a challenge, to remove any semblance of direct discrimination or restrictions on freedom of association. The Christian Legal Centre played significant roles in challenging the pro-abortion policies at both Aberdeen University and Cardiff University.
Anti-life local governments
Similarly, we have seen an onslaught of anti-life activity at the local government level and even by some members of Parliament. In 2018, while the Home Office rejected efforts to create buffer zones around abortion facilities as evidence suggested that the vast majority of protests have been peaceful, local councils such as Ealing have nonetheless been enacting Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) which have the same legal effect as creating buffer zones.
In October 2019, Christian Hacking became the first person to be arrested for publicly praying in front of an abortion clinic in violation of a PSPO. Then in MP Stella Creasy’s constituency of Walthamstow, London, the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform UK was subjected to a Community Protection Order seeking to criminalise the use of photos of aborted foetuses as part of its peaceful protests.
MP’s extreme anti-life policy
To be clear, Stella Creasy is not your ordinary pro-abortion advocate. She believes that abortion should be allowed to take place under any circumstances up until the moment of birth. She also believes that any safeguards protecting the unborn child or rights of conscience afforded to medical professionals should be removed.
The impact of imagery
As Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre so aptly noted, if facing the reality of abortion causes Stella Creasy so much discomfort, then abortion actually protests itself. Lest we forget, images have always had a powerful impact on the cultural conscience. J.M.W. Turner’s famous oil on canvas The Slave Ship (1840), which portrayed slavers throwing slaves overboard during a storm, had a massive impact on how society viewed slavery. That painting played an important role in the testimonies of many of the UK’s most famous anti-slavery advocates like John Newton and William Wilberforce. Imagery also captured the public imagination and changed hearts and minds about the Vietnam War, the 1968 Prague Spring, and anti-communist protests in Tiananmen Square.
The reality is that the images displayed in Walthamstow are no less graphic than much of the cigarette packaging openly displayed in public warning about dire health consequences of smoking. The truth these posters are capturing should rightly be stamped on the collective unconscious of UK society.
The impact of words
For those who shrink away from photographs, words can also be equally condemning. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in Gonzales v Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 (2007), where the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (2003), simply explained the gruesomeness of the procedures as a mean of expressing the Court’s reasoning for banning a procedure that Stella Creasy would like to see lawful.
Those descriptions are worth repeating here just to shine some light about what MPs like Creasy are advocating for, who at the same time are doing their utmost to prevent your freedom to protest these atrocities:
“The doctor, often guided by ultrasound, inserts grasping forceps through the woman’s cervix and into the uterus to grab the fetus. The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed. A doctor may make 10 to 15 passes with the forceps to evacuate the fetus in its entirety, though sometimes removal is completed with fewer passes. Once the fetus has been evacuated, the placenta and any remaining fetal material are suctioned or scraped out of the uterus.”
Elsewhere Justice Kennedy cited the testimony of an abortion clinic nurse about how some of these abortions were performed:
“Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby’s body and the arms—everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus…
“The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall.
“The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp…
“He cut the umbilical cord and delivered the placenta. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta and the instruments he had just used.”
Life is precious. If as a society we ever get to a point where it becomes illegal to protest the taking of human life, as some abortion advocates would have, we as a society will have devolved into tyranny.
I have all the admiration in the world for those brave pro-life advocates who are facing criminal and civil punishments, and who are opposing censorship. They are modern day prophets. May their courage not be in vain.