The anti-abortion group 40 Days for Life are coming to the end of their latest round of campaigning outside an abortion clinic in Fallowfield.
The organisation is internationally recognised and they are currently operating in 28 countries. In each of the individual cities the campaigns are organised and managed by local people. As the name suggests, they last for 40 days and are usually ran once in the spring and once in the autumn.
Volunteers run the time as a vigil where they work in shifts and attempt to hand out leaflets to people going in to the clinic. Their current spring campaign here in Fallowfield will end tomorrow, on April 9th.
The clinic itself is part of the non-governmental organisation and registered charity, Marie Stopes International. They offer NHS and private services. The private element of the clinic is mostly to offer abortions to people travelling from countries such as Ireland, where it remains illegal.
A Campaigners Voice
David Gazdecki, one of the campaigners, said he was there to: ‘Give educational and helpful information to women approaching the clinic.’ He also stated he believes human life begins at the point of conception and so he was there to: ‘Uphold human rights for all people.’
He believed that many of the women using the clinic were not properly informed and that the private aspect provided an incentive to carry out maximum procedures. Although private abortions have created controversy, Marie Stopes’ website says that they: ‘…only charge the minimum necessary to provide a high-quality service.’ They also state that any surplus money is re-invested in their world-wide work. Their 2015 Global Impact Report estimated that 21 million women were using a method of contraception provided by them.
Is there a Conflict?
Although the very sensitive nature of the issue can create conflict when the opposing sides of the debate meet, Mr Gazdecki described the volunteers’ behaviour as: ‘Respectful and courteous.’ He said that they are not there to judge or to tell anyone what decision to make, they are simply there: ‘To be someone for people to speak to.’ Despite their best intentions, it would likely be difficult for their presence alone not to cause some level of distress for some of the patients.
Whichever side of the debate you agree with, the accumulative outcomes of these small community clashes will have international ramifications.
Marie Stopes International were unavailable for comment.
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