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Anti-abortion group Abort67 stage demonstration in Canterbury city centre

By Emma Grafton-Williams

Graphic images of aborted foetuses shocked passers by in a busy shopping centre this afternoon.

The image boards were displayed in Rose Lane in Canterbury by campaign group Abort67 - whose members say they are trying to educate the public to make abortion "unthinkable" and to see the law "give full protection to the unborn."

Ruth Rawlings, campaigner at Abort67 said that abortion is an "accepted injustice of our day".

Warning graphic images below

Naomi Maciver
Naomi Maciver

"The abortion industry has managed to hide the reality of abortion and has converted it with euphemisms," she said.

"We are here to show the public the reality - the graphic reality of that choice."

The Abortion Act came into force in 1967 and allows babies to be aborted up to 24 weeks gestation.

But Naomi Maciver, who saw the demonstration advertised on the Canterbury Residents Group Facebook page, staged a counter-protest against it.

The 39-year-old said: "I think it's awful and I don't agree with images like this being paraded about.

"I think women have the right to make their own choices and decide what they want. I have no idea why they are coming to Canterbury and doing this."

The anti-abortion display by Abort67 showing a harrowing image of an aborted fetus which we have blurred
The anti-abortion display by Abort67 showing a harrowing image of an aborted fetus which we have blurred

The demonstration was reported to police but they say no offences have been alleged.

University of Kent graduate Sean Monk thought the display was "disgusting."

"I'm disgusted by this. It's intimidating and it's vulgar. Young kids are going to walk past - it's not right," he said.

"It's a complete misrepresentation of motherhood. It's saying you're a bad person for having an abortion. It's disengaging people from society."

Student graduates Sean Monk and Daisy Hollingsworth
Student graduates Sean Monk and Daisy Hollingsworth

One woman who was walking past shouted: "It's disgusting, how dare you?"

Holly Jayne Coyle did not agree with the protesters' views.

"There are so many proper causes that need to be fought. My opinion is that it should be made safely available and the information should be made clear - but not in this way. It should be unbiased information."

Holly Jayne Coyle did not agree with the anti-abortion campaign
Holly Jayne Coyle did not agree with the anti-abortion campaign

Housewife Renee Abrahams, who lives in Ashford, said: "Why would you want to bring a child into the world that is not wanted? It's horrible, but why bring a child into the world that isn't going to be loved."

A 16-year-old school girl who saw the display believes that women should have a choice when it comes to abortion.

"I think it should be a woman's choice to either go through with a pregnancy or end it. Women should be able to decide.

"There should be more education about abortion for young girls though," she said.

Hannah Perkin attended the display and held a hand-made sign up to show that women should have a choice. It read 'not your body, not your choice - everyone deserves safe abortion care'.

She said: "These people have the right to be here but I don't think that it should ever go unchallenged. Every woman has a right to make their own choice and decide what she wants, and no one else has a say in that."

Lots of people discussed their views at the anti-abortion campaign
Lots of people discussed their views at the anti-abortion campaign

Gemma Rayner-James, who lives near Kingsmead Leisure Centre, made her own sign to protest against the anti-abortion display.

"It's important. There are already restrictions in place that make it difficult for women that want an abortion. Forcing them to feel guilty is dangerous and we shouldn't be going back to street abortions," she said.

Director of Abort67 Andy Stephenson was prompted to set up the project after seeing a picture of an aborted fetus when his wife had her 12-week scan.

"It was seeing the first scan at 12 weeks and knowing that I was going to be a father - then seeing a child from a gestation abortion.

"I never wanted to see it again. Every day I see the word abortion and that picture comes into my head. I had to do something about it."

The Abortion Act 1967 allows foetuses to be aborted up to 24 weeks into gestation, but there is a campaign to reduce it as babies born at 23 weeks are increasingly surviving.

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