Around 80 people from as far afield as London joined us on Sunday to protest outside the Worthing-based church behind controversial anti-abortion protests in Brighton. The Carnival for Choice was supported by various unions, Solfed, and Bloomsbury PCA. We picketed the Jubilee Church service held at Worthing High School, greeting the congregation as they entered and left the service.
In spite of the very early start the carnival was a lively affair with educational games, a pro-choice tombola and a mobile sound-system. The event outside the school passed off peacefully with protesters proceeding to march through Worthing to raise awareness of the presence of the church and the tactics they’ve been using. The police were co-operative throughout and said they were pleased with how the event went.
Jubilee Church has been the driving force behind Abort67, the campaign group known for displaying graphic images of aborted foetuses outside Wiston’s Clinic on Dyke Road. The group have been accused of intimidating women entering the clinic and two members of the Church have been charged under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 for causing harassment, alarm or distress.
Before the service the leader of the Church, Colin Nichols was presented with a petition of over 3,000 signatures calling for them to withdraw their support for Abort67. Nichols addressed the crowd reiterating his church’s support for anti-abortion group, saying that they did not endorse the harassment and intimidation of women. The crowd responded noisily to his well-worn script, which told us nothing we didn’t already know.
A member of Brighton Pro Choice said ‘It is well-known that Abort 67 intimidates users of the clinic. They approach people and give them false and misleading information about abortion, making an already difficult situation much worse. We wanted to give them a taste of their own medicine today by protesting outside their church. If they want us to go away, they must withdraw their support for this group’s disgusting tactics. If they want to change the law, they should be protesting outside Westminster.’
Shona McCulloch, a member of Brighton Pro Choice and Equalities Officer for Brighton Trades Council, said ‘80,000 women are killed every year globally through unsafe abortion; ultimately Abort67 want to add to this shameful statistic the lives of our daughters, sisters and mothers. We all have a responsibility to defend reproductive rights – we must draw the line and make it clear that Abort67’s appalling tactics of misinformation and fear are not welcome on our streets.’
Our message to Jubilee church was loud and clear – withdraw all support for Abort67, or you’ll be seeing us again!