The Tab spoke to Becky*, a member of Cathsoc and a supporter of the pro-life campaign ’40 days for Life’.
Tab: Have you done any campaigns before?
Becky: No, but I’m involved in 40 Days for Life, a campaign linked with the March for Life, where we pray outside abortion clinics. Coming to university let me hear about and get involved in these things.
What kind of reactions have you had from the campaigns?
In the 40 Days for Life campaign we stopped people who were going into abortion clinics to give them leaflets about their other options and show them images of what a baby would look like at eight weeks old…Sometimes it can be really tough. In one hour, four different cars beeped and stuck their fingers up at us. It makes me feel uncomfortable, but I’m happier doing it in a group of people who share my faith. I’m doing nothing wrong by praying outside clinics, I never go inside. We always protest peacefully.
Calthorpe Road abortion clinic in Edgbaston
Do you find people judge you for your beliefs at uni?
I’ve always taken religion very seriously and definitely wanted to join CathSoc at university. One of my flatmates is an atheist, but it’s not a problem. We just keep our beliefs to ourselves. Sometimes I have to be careful what I say, as I don’t want to offend anyone, that isn’t what Christianity is about, but you can’t always go along with the crowd. Chastity is an issue, my friends sleep around, and it’s not what I want to do. This can make me feel separated, as people imagine that I judge them or don’t want to talk about sex. I am anti-contraception, that’s what Catholics believe and it makes sense to me. It’s not that I don’t want to talk about sex, I’m just as human as everyone else, I still enjoy boys but don’t sleep with them.
What are your thoughts on abortions in extreme cases, such as rape?
Catholics realise there are incredibly difficult situations, but morality comes above human feelings. Just because someone finds something very difficult, it doesn’t make it ok for them to do it. We understand there are seemingly impossible situations but you can’t have one belief for one situation, and one for another. It’s not that Catholics have no heart, but in any situation abortion is wrong. I’m not an authority on this but I think Catholics say that abortion is permitted only when the mother’s life is at risk.
Is there much male involvement in your campaigns?
There seem to be just as many men outside the clinic as women, some find it hard to understand – what do men know about it? Being a woman, it affects me so emotionally. When I pray, I wonder what’s going through the men’s minds. Though it’s a faith we share so why shouldn’t they stand up for it? Fathers are involved as well as mothers.
The poster the ’40 days for Life’ campaign display outside the abortion clinic
When you stand outside the clinics, what are you praying for?
I pray for everyone concerned, the babies that died, the ones we could save, mothers who have had or are thinking about having abortions and the people working in the clinics. I think the media portrays abortion as an easy solution but it’s not as simple as that. Women may experience post-traumatic stress afterwards. We hand out leaflets making people more aware of the risks, things that the doctors in the clinic won’t always tell them. Abortion can be harmful, physically and emotionally.
The March is this Sunday at 2.15pm, outside St Chad’s Cathedral.