Yesterday’s Guardian featured an article about the UK Life League, an anti-abortion group, and the tactics it has started employing to have abortion banned in the United Kingdom. Abortion is legal across the country here, and though there have always been groups opposed to it, such as Comment on Reproductive Ethics, none of them have resorted to ‘direct action’ and have merely taken part in the normal democratic process. The UK LifeLeague, which was founded by a Catholic businessman claiming to be a vicar, is the first direct action group to campaign against abortion, and its first targets have been a Catholic girls school and a gynaecology nurse.
The article does, however, go to some lengths to discredit the organisation’s actions:
The head teacher of Woldingham School, Diana Vernon, has been accused of “child abuse” for providing sex education for her 14- and 15-year-old pupils as required under the national curriculum. Activists are being encouraged to bombard Ms Vernon with hate emails. [..] “I couldn’t believe it,” said Ms Vernon. “What we teach falls entirely within the national curriculum and the way in which we teach the use of contraception is in the context of a committed relationship. Every Catholic school in the country will be doing what we are doing.
In other words, they are targeting one school for teaching the same thing that every other school in the country has to teach. Surely then it is not the school that should be targeted but the government for including this in the curriculum? Then there’s this:
Elsewhere, hospitals have been sent images of aborted foetuses and abortion clinics subjected to noisy demonstrations.
Because I’m sure hospital staff will have never seen an aborted foetus before.
The group’s leader, James Dowson, denies links with US pro-life groups, despite having the admiration of Neal Horsley, the founder of The Nuremberg Files which publishes the details of abortion clinics in the US with the aim of encouraging action against them. He also claimed to have raided hospital bins to find pictures of aborted foetuses, which Marie Stopes UK (a family planning organisation) has said is impossible.
It’s sad when vigilante groups try to take the law into their own, ultimately futile, hands when dealing with issues like this. The UK, like the US, is a democratic country and if people are concerned about issues like abortion then there are ways of having the law changed. Intimidating people, especially those merely doing their job, is not right.