Despite train strikes, an estimated 7,000 pro-lifers attended the annual March for Life in central London, dwarfing a pro-abortion counter-demonstration.
Held last Saturday, 2 September, pro-lifers of all ages marched in opposition to the UK’s abortion laws, which generally permit abortion up until 24 weeks gestation. Starting in the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster, the pro-lifers filled the streets as they marched to Trafalgar Square and ended with a huge rally in Parliament Square.
Since the Abortion Act was passed in 1967, there have been over 10 million abortions in England, Wales and Scotland. The theme of the 9th annual March for Life was the “Freedom to live”.
The rally at the end of the March heard from a number of speakers including co-director of the event, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, who was arrested for a second time earlier this year for silently praying near an abortion clinic in Birmingham. Isabel said “On the second time I was arrested I was told my prayers were an offence”.
“I’ll tell you what is offensive, that our country has the highest ever abortion figures, 100,000 of them annually being repeat abortions and the only response we see happening in our government is a clamp down on those who peacefully offer alternatives to pregnant women”.
7,000 pro-lifers attended the annual March for Life
One of the speakers, Lois McLatchie-Miller from ADF UK (Alliance Defending Freedom), emphasised the role of men in abortion, saying that the “mantra of ‘my body, my choice’ has led to a deficit of male responsibility, allowing men to shrug and say ‘your body, your choice, your problem'”.
Another speaker, Ellie, told the crowd of her deep regret of the three abortions she had. Speaking over the protests of the pro-abortion counter-demonstration, she recounted “I instinctively knew when it was time to go to the toilet and deliver my baby. That moment of separation is burned into my memory forever”.
She went on to say “I think I can speak for every post-abortive woman stood here today that abortion didn’t grant us freedom, but made us captives in one way or another”.
With the number of pro-lifers who attended the March having increased, despite train strikes, Ben Thatcher, co-director of the March for Life, expressed his hope that there would be 10,000 supporters at the March for Life 2024.
17% increase in abortions in first half of 2022
The total number of abortions in England and Wales in 2022 has not been released yet, but in the first half of the year, official figures show there were 123,219 abortions, an increase of 17,731 abortions over the previous year during the same time frame, when there were 105,488 abortions. This change represents a 17% increase in total abortions in England and Wales over this time period.
The highest number of abortions ever recorded in England and Wales was in 2021 with a total of 214,869 abortions. Given the huge increase in abortions in the first half of 2022, it is likely that the total number of abortions for the year will be significantly higher than in 2021.
Catherine Robinson, spokesperson for Right To Life UK, said “It’s so encouraging that, despite the train strikes, thousands of pro-lifers still made it to the March. We must never forget the lives lost and do all we can to support mothers and babies to prevent further loss of life”.
“Thank you to the team at March for Life UK for all the incredible work they put into running this amazing event. It was fantastic to see thousands of passionate pro-lifers, a large number of whom are young people, marching through the streets of London today”.
“This is a crucial moment for the UK, when abortion advocates are intensifying their efforts to introduce abortion up to birth for any reason”.
“This proposal is completely out of touch with the general population, only 1% of whom wish to see abortion made legal up until birth. In fact, 70% of women favour a reduction in the current 24-week limit”.
“The people who joined the March were making a much-needed public demonstration of their opposition to introducing even more inhumane abortion laws to the UK, and in support of the dignity and rights of every human being from conception to natural death”.