'Unacceptable': Charity condemns anti-abortion group who 'distressed' women outside Finsbury Park clinic
PUBLISHED: 16:08 08 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:31 12 February 2020
The UK's leading abortion care service has condemned Catholic protestors who "distressed" women outside a clinic in Finsbury Park on Saturday.
British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has reiterated calls for the government to introduce buffer zones outside clinic, after supporters of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants (HGPI) demonstrated clients outside its clinic in Upper Tollington Park.
According to an itinerary posted on its website, HGPI supporters were due assemble at St Mellitus Church before conducting a "prayerful and peaceful procession to BPAS abortion facility" to hold a "vigil". They target a different clinic each month.
"Bpas is deeply disappointed that yet another of our clinics is now being targeted by anti-abortion protesters," said a spokesperson for the charity. "Since the Home Office declined to take action to put a stop to this type of activity in late 2018, 44 clinics across the UK have had to deal with anti-abortion protests.
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"Our clients tell us that this type of activity is deeply distressing. Today we know that women were followed down the street as they left, that protesters were shouting to women that they 'loved them' as they accessed care, and protesters were walking into the road to push leaflets through the windows of cars stopped at the traffic lights."
"This type of activity is unacceptable. Women and BPAS staff desperately need the government to step up and bring in buffer zones to move protesters away from the clinic gate."
The clinic is on the Haringey side of the border.
A HGPI spokesperson said: "Three police officers stood outside the NHS Clinic in Finsbury Park, where BPAS carries out abortions, whilst the Helpers of God's Precious Infants prayed peacefully on the other side of the road. If the Helpers were doing anything criminal, the police would have taken action. As it was, the police saw no reason to move from where they were standing, from the start to the finish of our time there. We were there to pray for everyone involved in abortion, the men and women, the babies, BPAS staff, the neighbours and passers-by. Our trained pavement counsellors offered help to those coming to the clinic and they offered information to people passing by, who expressed interest in what we were doing."
The Home Office and St Mellitus Church were approached for comment.