London centre was the focus of major pro-life protests

The Bedford Square clinic of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) is to stop providing abortions from the end of this month.

Pro-lifers have been holding prayer vigils and protests at the Bedford Square clinic for around 13 years. In 2005 a nine-day novena of prayer was held at the centre, attended by 21 priests, while 40 Days for Life prayer vigils have been held there twice a year for the last three years. One of these vigils was attended by Bishop Alan Hopes, then auxiliary bishop of Westminster.

The BPAS clinic is not closing, but a spokeswoman for the organisation said it would be “moving some of its services” to its clinic in Stratford, east London.

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The spokeswoman added: “There’s been no drop off in numbers, but this isn’t a residential area. We’re opening up smaller clinics, more of them, nearer to where women live.”

Mark Banks, communications coordinator of 40 Days for Life, said: “God has heard the prayers of the 10,000-plus individuals who have participated in 40 Days for Life vigils in central London in the last few years. Our prayers continue to be with the mothers and children who have had their lives ruined through abortions at Bedford Square. Given this facility is not entirely closing down we shall assess our presence at this clinic for our next scheduled vigil commencing September 25.”

Daniel Blackman, a research and education officer with the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and a member of the 40 Days for Life London organising team from 2010 to 2012, said: “The news that BPAS will no longer be performing chemical abortions at its Bedford Square facility is to be welcomed. Special mention should be made of 40 Days for Life, Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, and the Good Counsel Network, who have held prayer vigils outside the BPAS facility for a number of years.

“However, like the head of Hydra, BPAS opened a new facility in Stratford, East London in 2011. SPUC launched a vigorous campaign of opposition, working closely with local residents and pro-life groups. Sadly, BPAS Stratford is now open six days a week, with long opening hours, carrying out chemical and surgical abortions, ie, more abortion procedures than were offered at Bedford Square. It is situated on the ground floor of a residential block housing residents with complex needs, in an area with one of the highest abortions rates in the country. SPUC, together with others who want to offer protection for unborn children and their parents, will continue its campaign against BPAS.”

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