40 Days Spreads to the UK

Today’s guest post comes from Philippa Willitts is a British freelance writer, who also blogs for The F-Word, Where’s the Benefit? and her own personal blog. She can be found procrastinating on twitter both personally (@incurablehippie) and professionally (@philippawrites), and she enjoys good food, good friends, and nature.

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It is often said that what happens in America will eventually come over here to the UK. Even those things that we think would never catch on in our rather different culture can make a surprising appearance a year or two after we’ve been shocked about it happening in the States. And while there has always been anti-abortion activism here, some of the anti-choice tactics in the US are unfortunately occurring in Britain more and more frequently.

British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) is the UK’s largest abortion provider. While terminations are available for free on the National Health Service (NHS), there is sometimes a waiting list that is long enough to make women look for private alternatives. A campaign called 40 Days for Life has taken up residence outside one of BPAS’s clinics in London and is holding what they describe as ‘prayer vigils.’

[Read more...]

Virginia Abortion Clinics Face New Hurdles

The Washington Post published a great op-ed over the Labor Day weekend in support of Virginia abortion clinics. Why is this noteworthy? Well, anti-choice politicians in the state have decided that it’s of the utmost importance to hold abortion clinics to expensive and unnecessary standards that have nothing to do with patient safety and everything to do with putting clinics out of business.

Before we take a closer look at some of these proposed regulations, consider that the clinics that would be affected only perform first-trimester abortions. These are widely considered to be the safest kind of abortions; in general, first-trimester procedures are done in five to fifteen minutes and require a local anesthesia, as opposed to the more intense twilight or general forms.

[Read more...]

New York Passes Legislation to Strengthen Protection for Reproductive Health Providers

pro choice protestNew York Governor David Paterson signed the Protections for Reproductive Health Care Act last week significantly increasing protective measures for reproductive health providers in the state. The new legislation not only increases legal penalties for perpetrators of violence, it also expands protection to volunteers and paid employees of women’s health clinics.

Lynne Slepian, the wife of Dr. Barnett A. Slepian (killed by an anti-choice activist in 1998), has plaid a major role in pushing forward this legislation. She stated at a conference on Thursday, “this is the crux of the whole issue. It’s going to set a precedent for the whole country, we hope. The issue of clinic violence is not going to go away. The issue will never go away. Hopefully, strong penalties will decrease the violence.” [Read more...]

Chicago’s Mayor Daley Will Sign Law to Protect Abortion Clinics

abortion clinic escortsChicago abortion clinics have an unlikely ally in the form of Mayor Richard Daley. Daley announced on Friday that he will approve a new piece of legislation that will impose a bubble zone to protect family planning patients from abortion protesters. According to the Chicago Tribune:

The City Council voted 28-13 on Wednesday to approve the ordinance, which creates 8-foot “bubble zones” around people who are within 50 feet of a medical facility. Venturing into that space without consent could result in a $500 fine.

Critics said the ordinance violates free speech rights of protesters who want to counsel women out of having abortions. They called on Daley to use his veto power to block the measure from taking effect Nov. 17.

But the mayor sided with supporters who said the new measure will promote patient safety. [Read more...]