Calling it an “abortion clinic protest” or an “abortion clinic vigil” is a hotly debated subject. For opponents who are against anyone near one of Scotland’s abortion clinics then the events are “anti-abortion protests.” In contrast, participants desribe their activities as “pro-life vigils”
The language is as fought over as the wider abortion debate. Both sides use language which supports their aims either to continue or to ban the events
What’s the difference?
“Vigil” supporters say they go to abortion clinics to pray and to offer help to women at a difficult time in their life. They point to the fact that women from the most deprived areas of Scotland have abortion rates twice as high as those from wealthy areas and say this means women are being forced into abortion by circumstances. Vigils provide practical help and support to women who ask their help to continue with their pregnancies.
Vigil supporters say that a “protest” style of would be counter-productive to their aim of offering help. They report that vigils are usually small and use signage such as “we can help”.
Opponents say the events are “anti-abortion protests”. They note that individual participants oppose abortion so their presence at near abortion clnics is a way of showing disapproval. This disapproval is perceived negatively by opponents as well as women presenting for abortion so they are, de facto, protests.
Opponents alledge harassment or intimidating behaviour by participants and say this is characteristic of a negative protest, rather than a peaceful vigil
Which is more accurate?
It’s up to you!
This website could only have one domain name so we called it abortionvigils.scot. We take view that those initiating and organising the events have first claim on the terminology, rather than their opponents.
The “eye of the beholder” claim that vigils are protests because of the perception of an individual is subjective and unreliable. Opponents allegations of negative experiences at vigils have been fact checked and some have been found to be incorrect or misleading