Coralie N’Ch and Yun Jie Zou
Yesterday a religious group gathered on St-Mary Street in Cardiff City Centre to pray against abortion. A few young people opposed them by holding picket signs in silence.
About twenty people stood in the streets in front of British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and addressed their prayers to God. This was organised in the context of the 40 Days for Life campaign, a community-based campaign fighting abortion.
The campaign started on February 13th and will go through different cities until March 24th. It is based on a three-point program: prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil and community outreach.
A 40 Days for Life member explained their campaign in Cardiff yesterday “the reason why we do this is to pray for the females and to against abortion because it is the thing which if we don’t do it, we will regret forever.”
“We don’t want to show the horrible pictures of abortion, or force people to join us. We just do it for innocent lives”, he said.
A young woman who was part of the group of opponents described the situation: “They are here because upstairs is a clinic which provides abortion services. And they pray against abortion.”
She explained that she was here with other people to communicate against this campaign. “We have been here all day”, she said.
The discussion against abortion is often linked to religious beliefs and one of the common sayings is that God is against it. For her, this is unacceptable.
“It’s just not right that they are using God as an argument against abortion”, she said.
Like her, many people believe abortion should be a right for women. But abortion is a complicated subject which engenders passionate debates.
In Wales, England and Scotland, abortion has been legal since the Abortion Act 1967.
According to a report published in May 2012 by the Department of Health and UK National Statistics office, the total number of abortions for women resident in England and Wales was 189, 931 in 2011.
BPAS is Britain’s largest single abortion provider and have 19 clinics in the UK. They provide different services, from counselling and pregnancy testing to abortion. BPAS say it cares for over 55,000 women each year.
Most European countries have legalized abortions. However in many places especially in the US where it is going through a hot debate, abortion is still problematic for a lot of people. Like many society issues, it will keep being intensively debated by citizens and parties, and perhaps one day be seen as a right.
Almost 2/3 of women in the world live in countries where they can obtain an abortion on request of social, economic or personal matters. On the other hand, it still remains illegal in most African countries, with an exception in cases of rape or health issues.