Abort 67: giving pro-lifers a bad name?

Pro-life group Abort 67 use incredibly graphic images to protest abortion. With a Bristol demonstration imminent, Bristol Students for Life argue why Abort 67’s tactics are wrong.

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Those who believe in justice for the unborn child come in many shades. Some, it must be said, are more helpful than others in advancing the case against abortion.

One of the less useful spokes on the Pro-Life wheel is Abort 67.

Sussex students obscure Abort 67’s graphic imagery on campus

Abort 67 is an organisation that promotes the use of graphic images depicting abortions. Their mission is to convert people to the pro-life cause by showing them the wreckage of abortion.

In 2010, a group of pro-life students at Bristol set up a new society, now known as Bristol Students for Life.

The society’s primary mission is to hold pro-life talks and debates that make the intellectual case for the support and protection of human life from conception to natural death.

It states in our constitution that we are “to look at these issues from a secular and non-judgemental perspective” and we “shall be respectful, accepting and acting with the utmost tolerance towards both the society members, and members of the public regardless of background, opinion and creed”.

Bristol Students for Life has unanimously rejected graphic imagery as used by Abort 67. The society does not feel it is appropriate or useful to cause great distress or alarm to others.

The society feels the case against abortion is a solid one, and is willing to make that case and engage with its opponents. We believe the arguments can be won on intellectual grounds and emotive and graphic pictures are not needed.

Graphic imagery often only provokes an emotional response. “That’s disgusting!” The shocked onlooker’s ire is then directed at whoever is holding up the picture.

What it doesn’t do is cause that person to really consider what the images depict, and what abortion actually is. This immediate, emotional response is usually a defensive and sometimes offensive one.

The onlooker becomes angry with the person holding the pictures rather than with the abortionists, and any chance of reasonable discussion is lost.

Whilst we cannot defend the actions of Abort 67, or condone their methods, we are at the same time dismayed at the attitude of some British police officers towards them.

Kathryn Sloan and Andrew Stephenson were both arrested by a constable who apparently found the images ‘disgusting’. Well, yes, they are, but protest cannot be a criminal offence in a liberal society.

Therefore we welcome the recent court ruling, which defends their freedom of speech. They have every right to protest, and attempts to shut down free speech shouldn’t be tolerated on a university campus.

Abort 67 and Bristol Students for Life both oppose abortion. That is where the similarities end.

Bristol Students for Life will not support their tactics and our members are very keen to distance themselves from the protest. Yes, abortion is shocking – but the case against it need not be.

If you want to hear the considerate and reasonable case against abortion come along to our next talk by Professor David Paton on the 14th November (bristolsfl.wordpress.com). Visitors and observers are welcome at all of the society’s talks.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or email [email protected] to have your say.