Pro-choice v Pro-life debate

One of Britain’s biggest abortion providers, BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service) organised the debate: ‘Freedom of speech, anti-abortion protestors and women: Rights and Limits’ in London on the eve of the trial of Andrew Stevenson and Kathryn Sloane, who were accused of causing public disorder outside Winston’s abortion clinic in Brighton.

The couple displayed large and graphic pictures of aborted babies outside the clinic to draw the attention of potential clients of the horrors and realities of abortion – in fact, the taking of innocent human life.

In the debate, Andrea Minichiello Williams of  Christian Concern defended the right to life of the unborn child, while Ann Furedi of BPAS supported the humanistic stance, i.e. the personal freedom of each woman to make her own choice over continuing or terminating a pregnancy. 

Of the four speakers, only Andrea spoke from the Christian and clearly biblical point of view, which states that human life is valuable from the moment of conception.  She showed considerable courage in the face of strong opposition, which came not only from the other speakers but also from the floor.  Andrea was the only panel member to be heckled for her forthright answers to questions. 

It would seem from the debate, that those who support the right to abort a baby are determined to keep the discussion behind closed doors.  They say they support freedom of speech over the issue, but they seek to stifle the expression of any opposing view, especially when it clearly threatens their own position and has the potential to change public opinion.  The freedom to communicate ‘truth’ as Andrea described, clearly has limits!

Andrea drew brilliantly on the evidence of history.  The suffragettes had to fight, sometimes painfully, for the right to be heard over votes for women and William Wilberforce had to go to extreme lengths to illustrate the inhumanity of the slave trade.  Both Emily Pankhurst and William Wilberforce were unpopular in their day for their message and their actions and yet to question either of their positions is unthinkable now.

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