Socialist Worker

The forces behind anti-choice picket

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2295

“I think the end of abortion is closer than we ever could have believed.” These are the chilling words of David Bereit, national director of the anti-choice 40 Days for Life campaign.

The bigots are wrong to think that the end of abortion is imminent. But they have taken confidence from their bullying campaign against women grabbing media headlines.

Anti-choice bigots have gathered outside the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) clinic in central London over the past week. Others have protested at a BPAS clinic in Stratford, east London.

They have sought to intimidate women by filming them and bringing literature showing images of aborted foetuses.

The 40 Days for Life campaign claims that its supporters only engage in peaceful campaigning. But its tactics show the real agenda—to harass, intimidate and shame women into keeping unwanted pregnancies.

Bereit leads 40 Days for Life in the US. It opposes abortion in any circumstances—including in cases of rape or incest, or where there is a serious threat to a woman’s life.

This organisation lies behind the much smaller operation in Britain, led by Robert Colquhoun.


Anti-choice bigots claim to be upholding the “right to life”—but this doesn’t always apply.

James Olson is on the “leadership team” of 40 Days for Life in the US. He worked for the CIA for over 25 years and became its chief of counter-intelligence.

Olson has complained about laws and regulations that make the CIA less “effective”.

He marked the ten year anniversary of the September 2001 attacks on New York by denouncing those who opposed the CIA’s “secret prisons, enhanced interrogations, renditions and targeted killings”.

Meanwhile one of the leaders of the London protests is Alan Craig—a right wing Christian who is also leading an anti-mosque campaign and who has compared gay people to Nazis.

Craig, a former Christian People’s Alliance councillor in Newham, east London, bizarrely thinks that the BPAS clinic in Stratford is there to “take advantage of Westfield Stratford City and the Olympics”.

In October last year he denounced the “Gaystapo” on his blog and attacked “gay rights storm troopers”.

Craig is also at the forefront of an Islamophobic campaign against a planned mosque in Newham—or as he calls it, “Newham’s first Sharia-controlled zone”.


The anti-choice protesters aren’t motivated by a concern for women. They are driven by a right wing agenda that wants to restrict women’s role in society and undermine rights in general.

Those who think women should be forced to bear unwanted children effectively oppose women’s right to control their own lives.

That’s because they think women should be wives and mothers—and nothing else.

As Colquhoun put it in 2011, “Abortion is an attack on you as a woman and a mother. There is no greater power you have than to play a crucial role in giving life and birth.”

And Bereit has denounced Planned Parenthood, which

provides sex advice, contraception and abortion services, as the “most aggressive promoter of sexual immorality in our nation”.

The message from these people is that women shouldn’t have sexual freedom, choice or control over their own bodies. They are trying to turn the clock back on the rights we have won.

But they remain the minority—and we should make sure they stay that way.

For more info visit the Abortion Rights website at

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