Anti-abortion group criticised for Nottingham hospital vigil

Vigil holder John Edwards was confronted by Matthew Murray while Notts TV was filming.

A group of people opposing abortion have been criticised for holding a 40-day vigil outside a hospital unit where procedures are carried out.

Forty Days for Life says the aim is to “pray for an end to abortion” and gathered this morning (March 1) outside the Nottingham Circle NHS Treatment Centre, next to the Queen’s Medical Centre.

Organisers say the vigil will run twelve hours a day for 40 days up to April 9 and stress it is a peaceful event.

But some people have criticised the group for holding the vigil so close to the unit, and a counter-protest is being organised on Facebook by the group Pro Choice.

In a post online Pro Choice said: “We want to directly oppose this. People should be able to access necessary medical treatment without intimidation.”

Matthew Murray, 40, from West Bridgford said he was ‘irate’ when he saw the group as he cycled past this morning.


The vigil is taking place outside the Circle NHS Treatment Centre next to the Queen’s Medical Centre.

He said: “I didn’t think I’d see it in this country at this hospital. I associate that with the attitudes that got Trump elected.

“It’s the same sort of pro-life, tea party attitude that they’ve got in the States that got him elected, it’s exactly what they stand for.

“Why would you want to stand here, I have views about things but I don’t go and stand on the corner and try and convince other people of my views.

“I only had one reaction as soon as I saw them, I was irate and got straight on my bike to come down here and say something. I just can’t walk past it.”

Nottingham Circle NHS Treatment Centre declined to comment.

John Edwards, organiser of the vigil, said: “We want to pray for an end to abortion, we understand perfectly that abortion is legal in this country but we think that it involves killing an unborn child and we also think it’s not good for the women and their families involved.

“We don’t want to be insensitive, indeed I would say our whole witness is about being sensitive, about being sensitive to their needs, the longer term needs of women in our society.

“We are quite a long way from the entrance, we will not approach people, people approach us but if they protest we talk to them but we don’t harangue or harass and we are certainly not here to condemn or judge people.”

Video: John Edwards, organiser of the vigil

A similar event was held on the hospital campus last year.

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust referred enquiries about the 2017 event to the Circle NHS Treatment Centre, but the trust said last year it had previously asked the protesters to leave and had contacted police.

In a post on Facebook about the 2016 protest the trust wrote: “Regrettably the group continue to return to our site, despite repeated polite requests to leave by our security team.”

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