Outside a London clinic that provides abortions, where protesters with cameras around their necks brandished graphic photos of bloodied fetuses, one pregnant woman had had enough.
You don’t know why people’s doing what they’re doing but you want to be out here judging,” she fumes in a YouTube video posted this week. ““I just heard that woman say, ‘I had an abortion,’” she adds, referring to one of the protesters who was talking about regretting her abortion. “You’re a hypocrite! You had an abortion but because you’re not happy with what you’re doing, you’re standing out here making other people feel guilty.”
The woman refers to a nearby charity, Kids Company, which she says is actually helping children in need instead of protesting abortion clinics.
“The people we work with, there’s girls that have been abused and molested and you’ve got this on,” she continues. “All you keep talking about is, ‘But do you think it’s right?’ You get raped by soldiers and all different people and then you tell me what you do after that. But when you had your abortion that was your choice. But for you to be standing out here making other women feel guilty is so wrong.”
The video, which went viral in the United Kingdom in the day since it’s been posted, was filmed by Sunny Hundal, an activist and journalist. In an interview, he told msnbc he had come down to the clinic Wednesday to follow up on an earlier article he’d written about protesters threatening abortion services at the medical facility.
“This particular place where I filmed is at threat of being shut down, or of having abortion services withdrawn, which would be unprecedented for the U.K.,” Hundal said. When he confronted the protesters about filming women, which clinic workers had told him was intimidating patients, the passing woman fiercely joined the conversation.
In recent years, the U.K. has seen an upsurge in the confrontational anti-abortion politics that have long been common in the United States. In response, the pro-choice British Pregnancy Advisory Service has launched Back Off, a campaign to pass protester buffer zones like the ones that exist in limited fashion in the United States. (In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Massachusetts’ buffer zone for being too restrictive of protesters’ speech rights.)
“For those who wish to campaign to restrict women’s reproductive choices, there are plenty of opportunities and locations in which to do so. The space immediately outside clinics should not be one of them. Establishing protest-free zones outside centres would provide the reassurance and security women and healthcare staff need,” says the campaign website.
In an email to msnbc, Andy Stephenson of Abort67, whose members are shown in the video, said, “The YouTube video by Sunny Hundal which reveals the gentle nature by which we hold our displays serves to emphasise that abortion is indefensible. Pro-aborts like Sunny can’t defend killing small human beings so he tries (in vain) to shame our volunteers for trying to defend the unborn child.” He added, “Sunny seems to miss the irony of filming us outside the clinic whilst he vilifies us for filming ourselves outside a clinic.”
Abortion was legalized in the U.K. in 1967. The British Social Attitudes survey shows that a majority – 62% – of Britons think abortion should be legal on the basis of a woman not wanting a child.
A spokeswoman for Kids Company wrote in an email to msnbc, “The young lady does work with Kids Company but she is about to give birth and does not want to talk to the media. Since 1996 Kids Company has been supporting vulnerable children and young people who are trying to live with dignity in the poorest and most violent cities in the UK. We know that every child and young person is unique and their challenges and the choices they have made in order to survive deserve our compassion and respect and not our judgement. We are currently raising money to hold a Christmas day party for over 4,000 vulnerable children, young people and their families so they do not have to face this day without warmth and food.”
Hundal said most of the reactions to the video have been positive. “There has been a huge outpouring of support for her and for Kids Company,” he said. “It’s reenergized the conversation around the fact that women do face intimidation like this from certain groups.”
The charity did post a thanks on Twitter for a wave of donations it has apparently received in the wake of the video going viral.