40 Days for Life UK claims to be ‘a peaceful, prayerful and legal vigil’ where volunteers sign a ‘"Statement of Peace" with a pledge that they will conduct themselves in a Christ-like manner’. Twitter has been awash with claims that volunteers associated with the group have been filming women entering a BPAS clinic in London, a claim which is being denied by 40 Days for Life.
Something we do know for sure is that 40 Days for Life volunteers are handing out literature which gives grossly inaccurate information about abortion and which signposts to a crisis pregnancy centre doing just the same. Of the mystery shopping EFC has carried out, this centre really is the lowest of the low in terms of bias and inaccuracy, so bad in fact, that it was featured in this Channel 5 news report a few years ago. As a result of EFC’s complaint the ASA issued a ruling against the centre’s misleading advertising but it simply changed its name and continues to offer services and provide misinformation to vulnerable women (offering special services for Irish and young women).
This centre appears to be run by anti-abortion organisation The Good Counsel Network. The phone number is displayed on the leaflets handed out by 40 Days volunteers and is linked to from the website under the heading ‘considering an abortion?’
The quotes below are from a mystery shopping visit EFC carried out at ‘Albany Women’s Centre’. They are just an example of the misinformation and bias given in a two hour session in which the ‘counsellor’ spoke incessantly about the purported mental, physical and spiritual risks of abortion:
“So the post-abortion cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, is very, very common now. And they say from the statistics that a hundred, the risk of getting cancer after abortion is one hundred percent...The problem with the post-abortive cancer is that it’s quite aggressive. It’s very difficult to treat, and most women die. From my friends who had abortion and who developed the cancer, none of them lived longer than a few years.”
“And abortion is something that goes very contrary to our maternal instinct, because we know that what we are doing is totally opposite our maternal instinct. We will harm the baby. We will kill the baby. We, we will do something horrible to the baby. That’s abortion.”
“Abortion is something that comes from the powers of darkness because it’s about destroying. Anything that’s about destroying, harming, eh, doing evil, comes from the powers of darkness, and there are a lot of people on this planet who are under their influence."
“But there are many, many, many other physical side effects...thirty percent, couldn’t have children. The first reason was many of them wouldn’t, they didn’t give the percentage, couldn’t get pregnant. They were sterile, okay? The other problem is miscarriages. Miscarriages are very common after abortions. Many women have many miscarriages from abortion. From our clients here I can tell you that on average it will be like five, six miscarriages. Some have more.”