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15th March 2019

Clash of protestors outside Fallowfield abortion clinic

An angry demonstrator harassed an group of elderly pro-life protestors outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Fallowfield, before making a speedy getaway in her car
Clash of protestors outside Fallowfield abortion clinic
The iconic building has been part of Manchester’s landscape for 52 years. Photo: Anthony Wilkins

A police investigation is underway after a passerby aggressively confronted a group of elderly anti-abortion protestors outside a clinic in Fallowfield.

The Marie Stopes clinic on Wynnstay Grove was the site of the incident, where three members of the ‘40 Days For Life’ group were peacefully protesting.

The group promote peaceful prayer to help change women’s minds about possible abortion procedure, and hold campaigns outside clinics twice a year.

The three protestors, all aged over 70, were undertaking the vigil at around 10:30am, when an unidentified member of the public confronted them, screaming obscenities.

A number of pictures published on the website of local outlet Mancunian Matters show the figure proceeding to throw deck chairs and then hurl the group’s literature over a nearby fence.

The intruder then made a speedy gateway by car, after the police had been called to attend the scene.

They remain unidentifed as of yet, while the police look further into the confrontation that took place.

Jason McShane-Chapman, the Manchester-Leeds Regional Manager for Marie Stopes condemned the behaviour, and further said any demonstrations outside abortion clinics were unhelpful: “We are aware that an incident took place outside our Manchester centre on Friday.

“Any kind of aggressive or confrontational behaviour outside a health centre is clearly unacceptable, and does not help people who are trying to access the service. Unfortunately, the presence of lobby groups like 40 Days for Life outside our clinics can cause tensions to rise and this incident demonstrates why it is inappropriate for protests to take place where potentially vulnerable women are trying to access legal NHS funded healthcare.”

Robert Colquhon, the international campaigns director for ‘40 Days for Life’ responded by claiming that the organisation had never been the cause of any intimidating activity outside clinics: “40 Days for Life organise peaceful, prayerful and legal vigils outside of abortion centres in the United Kingdom.

“In nine years of ministry we have not seen a single substantiated case of harassment or intimidation by any of our volunteers in that time. We have however received abuse from passers-by.”

There have been calls to halt demonstrations by both pro-choice and pro-life groups outside abortion clinics, with concerns that attempts to sway the view of vulnerable women may increase stress and anxiety at an already difficult time.

The Fallowfield Marie Stopes clinic have reassured possible patients that the clinic has upmost concern for their well-being, and that security is on hand to escort anybody that feels pressurised by demonstrators outside the clinic.

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