Page 1, 30th May 1975

30th May 1975
Page 1
Page 1, 30th May 1975 — By PETER NOLAN

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Locations: Berlin, Southampton


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While the Select Cornmittee on Abortion examines the working of the Abortion Act, there have been heated clashes between pro and antiabortionists at public meetings throughout the country.

Two members of the Women's Lib anti-abortion group "Women for Life" were threatened with expulsion from a pro-abortion public meeting at a Coventry college of education last week.

Mrs Rosemary Waddington, when the meeting was thrown open for discussion from the floor, rose to challenge statements by previous speakers that Mr James White's proposed amendments to the Abortion Act would make abortion almost unobtainable.

She said later that some of the 40 pro-abortionists present immediately accused her of ''using delaying tactics" and said she should be thrown out, Some began to kick her chair from behind.

She said she and her companion would be willing to go — the meeting wanted to discuss its pro-abortion campaign tactics — but if they did, it would have to be closed as a public meeting.

She added that an antiabortion poster which was displayed next to pro-abortion propaganda advertising the meeting "disappeared" after barely a day.

At a Reading college of education Melanie Dickinson, a "Women for Life' speaker, who was invited to talk against abortion, was physically prevented from entering the hall by a group of proabortionists, most of whom were not students at the college.

A "Women for Life" member said demonstrators were asked: "Don't you believe in free speech?" and answered "No!" Their behaviour angered students who had come to the meeting, and at the end one stood up and thanked the speaker for having remained, describing the interrupters as "a bunch of fascists."

At a recent meeting of SPUC in Southampton, Malcolm Muggeridge responded to a group of banner-bearing proabortionists by saying: "I should like to draw your attention to the fact that only one of the placards being held up here by the opposition happens to be true. That placard says: 'Muggeridge has never had an abortion'," The pro-abortionists, a minority at the well-attended meeting, tried to interrupt the speakers by chanting slogans, which Mr Muggeridge said reminded him of the chanting he had heard on the streets of Berlin in 1935.

Then they were a portent of destruction, he said. -Whenever you hear people shouting in unison, shouting down other people, as they're shouting me down, watch out, because there's trouble corning."

Michael Litchfield, the journalist who was co-author of the book "Babies for Burning" exposing the private abortion industry, has taken legal proceedings against The Sunday Times after an article it published on Easter Sunday containing allegations about him, The Select Committee looking into the working of the Abortion Act is to hear taped interviews with doctors and others on which the book "Babies for Burning" is based.

Mrs Phyllis Bowman, of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said this week that she knew of doctors all over the country who were writing to the British Medical Association, some threatening to resign from the organisation after its reaction to proabortion demonstrators.

The BMA, under pressure from the demonstrators, published evidence submitted to the Select Committee on Abortion showing the BMA had "grave doubts" about the ability of Mr James White's Bill to amend the Act to remove abuses.

Mrs Bowman said the release of figures by the Office of Population Census, and surveys showing a fall of 10 per cent in abortions in England and Wales in the first three months of this year, made no difference to SPUC's campaign. "We are out to protect life," she said.

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