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My story: facing anti-choice harassment outside an abortion clinic

Stories  •  16 May 2024  • 3 min read

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“When I attended the clinic there were anti-abortion protesters and one of them tried to hand me a teddy bear and referred to me as ‘mummy’.”

A client’s experience of facing anti-choice harassment outside of an abortion clinic, and the subsequent decision years later to have a medical abortion via ‘pills by post’ (telemedicine).

“For me, the decision to have the abortion was an obvious one due to my personal circumstances.”

I had an abortion in 2018 when I was in my early 20’s. For me, the decision to have the abortion was an obvious one due to my personal circumstances. Although difficult at points, my overall experience was positive with the clinic.

However, when I attended the clinic there were anti-abortion protesters and one of them tried to hand me a teddy bear and referred to me as ‘mummy’. At this time, this infuriated me but didn’t change my decision. Unfortunately, I had some slight complications with the procedure and had to attend a different clinic in central London for a scan. A woman was outside that clinic which worried me, but she didn’t say anything – she just had distressing signs of foetuses.

“The prospect of anyone calling me ‘mummy’ and trying to give me a teddy outside of a clinic wracked me with fear”

Years later, I found myself pregnant with my long-term boyfriend. We are a couple who really want to have children but unfortunately, we had to make the difficult decision to end the pregnancy due to finances. It felt extremely unfair but something we knew we had to do.

This time I felt very emotional and the prospect of anyone calling me ‘mummy’ and trying to give me a teddy outside a clinic wracked me with fear. It was something I knew I could not face as I felt very vulnerable this time around. It’s for this reason that I chose to use pills by post.

“The wonderful, patient women who spoke to me on the phone throughout the process…I will be forever grateful for.”

This worked very well but the idea of having to attend the clinic and having a similar experience added another level of anxiety to an already difficult experience. This of course was alleviated through the pills by post scheme and the wonderful, patient women who spoke to me on the phone throughout the process which I will be forever grateful for.

Abortion clinic Safe Access Zones: where are we now?

No one should face harassment when accessing abortion care.

In May 2023, abortion clinic Safe Access Zones (also known as buffer zones) were signed into law after Parliament voted for the zones in a cross-party show of support for reproductive rights. However, we are still waiting for them to be implemented by the Home Office.

Safe Access Zones will ban any activity in the 150 metres around an abortion clinic which intimidates, causes harassment, alarm, or distress, or seeks to influence anyone accessing or providing abortion care.

We need Safe Access Zones now. Learn more here.


Read more abortion stories

Sharing stories is at the heart of ending the stigma that too many people still feel when it comes to abortion.


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