40 Days for Life closes its 100th abortion facility – and it’s in the UK
16th May 2019
Four 40 Days for Life campaigns have been held in Nottingham.
In a huge victory for pro-lifers in Nottingham, abortions are no longer being carried out in the Queen's Medical Centre in the city.
The news follows four campaigns of prayer, fasting, and peaceful witness. According to 40 Days for Life, Nottingham’s is the 100th abortion facility to close since the worldwide community-based campaign began.
Abortion in Nottingham
Local leader John Edwards explains: “We began our Lenten vigils at the Queen's Medical Centre (QMC) in Lent 2016. The reason why we chose this place for our vigil was simple: as well as being the largest hospital in the East Midlands, it was the main centre for abortions in Nottinghamshire. Abortions were carried out in two completely separate abortion facilities on the same campus: the QMC, and a private healthcare clinic called The Nottingham Treatment Centre, which is operated in partnership with the NHS, by a company called Circle.”
NHS statistics told the pro-life volunteers that between them, these two clinics accounted for over 1100 abortions a year - 20 per week, or 3 per day.
The 40 Days for Life Campaign in Nottingham has faced tough opposition. Last year, Nottingham Council served an injunction against Mr Edwards, preventing him from taking part in the vigil. However, a Judge ruled that there was no evidence base for the injunction, and that it be discharged. The attempt by the Council to extend the injunction to other members of the vigil also failed, and they were forced to pay legal costs.
The volunteers have also been subjected to continuous abuse and intimidation, including an attack this year, which was investigated as a hate crime.
However, the adversity was worth it when the vigil organisers got some unexpected news during the last campaign. First, a doctor approached a vigil member, and told him that abortions were no longer being carried out at the hospital. “Later, the information was repeated by a nurse,” Mr Edwards said. “So, we have undertaken our own research; and it has confirmed that abortions are no longer carried out in Nottingham University Hospitals or the Treatment Centre.”
“Since neither the hospital nor the Treatment Centre has explained why they have both stopped offering abortion services, we do not know all the reasons why this has happened,” he went on. “But given the extreme reactions we experienced, it is unlikely that it was not connected to our four campaigns of peaceful witness.”
Interestingly, the Back Off campaign for buffer zones run by abortion provider BPAS refers to NHS staff on premises where a clinic is located asking for the abortion service to be withdrawn. It does not name Nottingham, but most other vigils in the UK take place outside BPAS or Marie Stopes clinics, not NHS premises.
Sadly, this does not mean that abortions have stopped completely in Nottingham - there are other centres in the area where abortions continue. However, as Mr Edwards says, “for those of us who have to use the QMC for medical purposes, and for the staff, the ending of abortions is a great thing.
“Is this wonderful outcome the result of our 4 vigils of prayer? We don't know. No-one from the hospital has said so, and they wouldn't want to admit it if it were true. BUT however it may have happened, what we can say for sure is that God has answered our prayers, in the most direct way possible!”