Thousands March for Life in London

The ninth annual march processed through the city of Westminster in London, and ended at the Houses of Parliament.

Law enforcement estimated 7,000 attended the March for Life in London, England.
Law enforcement estimated 7,000 attended the March for Life in London, England. (photo: Courtesy photo / March for Life UK)

Thousands of people stood up for the unborn on Saturday at the March for Life in London, England.

The ninth annual march processed through the city of Westminster in London, and ended at the Houses of Parliament.

Law enforcement estimated about 7,000 people attended the march according to a press release from March for Life UK.

In 2021, there were 214,256 abortions in England and Wales, according to the UK government’s website. Abortion was legalized in England, Scotland, and Wales, under the Abortion Act in 1967. In 2022, Parliament voted to permanently allow women in England and Wales to self-administer both abortion pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, without first visiting a hospital or clinic.

At-home abortions were previously allowed under a temporary status.

A law passed in February this year makes it illegal for any person within 150 meters of an abortion clinic to influence a woman’s decision to “access, provide or facilitate the provision of abortion services at an abortion clinic.”

The March for Life included training sessions on how to engage with the public on the issue of abortion were offered. Attendees sang songs and pro-life chants and held signs as they marched for life, the organization said.

The March4Life 2023 has begun! 👏🙌🏻🎉#March4LifeUK #Abortion #UK #Prolife #London

— March4LifeUK (@March4LifeUK) September 2, 2023

“Abortion destroys the freedom to live,” one sign said. “Life from conception, no exception,” another sign said. Many signs shown in photos online included religious imagery, including depictions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Thousands of pro-lifers are uniting in London to March for Life and say NO to the violence of abortion. SPUC is thrilled to March alongside thousands of courageous pro-lifers and proudly proclaim that we will Make Abortion Unthinkable 👏🏻.

— SPUC Pro-Life (@spucprolife) September 2, 2023

A number of counter-protesters were present as well. One video circulating on social media shows a counter-protester making a vulgar hand gesture to a pro-life attendee who appears to be a priest.

He can be heard responding “I love you.”

Religious leaders from different denominations participated in the rally including those from the Catholic Church. Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster John Sherrington, Bishop Richard Moth of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, Bishop John Keenan of the Diocese of Paisley in Scotland, and the ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham Monsignor Keith Newton were in attendance.

— St Margaret Clitherow (@StMCRochdale) September 4, 2023

With a theme “Freedom to Live,” the human rights demonstration was co-directed by Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, who was arrested in December 2022 for praying outside a Birmingham abortion clinic.

Thank you to all of you who joined Saturday’s March For Life. It was awesome to see you all there. If you didn’t come to the March, you can still play an important role: please consider donating, follow the link 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻 You can also help by spreading the…

— March4LifeUK (@March4LifeUK) September 4, 2023

Vaughan-Spruce in February was acquitted of charges related to a local order that censors speech in the area around abortion clinics.

She was arrested for violating the same order by praying in front of an abortion clinic weeks later.

Vaughan-Spruce told CNA on Tuesday that she is still waiting to hear if charges will be pressed against her and that she is still praying outside the abortion clinic on a weekly basis.

“On the second time I was arrested I was told my prayers were an offense. I’ll tell you what is offensive. That our country has the highest ever abortion figures, 100,000 of them annually being repeat abortions and the only response we see happening in our government is a clamp down on those who peacefully offer alternatives to pregnant women,” Vaughan-Spruce said in a speech at the march.

Father Sean Gough — a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham — also addressed a group of young people at the march. Father Gough was charged and later acquitted this past year for breaking a local censorship order on free speech for holding a sign that said “praying for free speech” near a Birmingham abortion clinic.

My mom chose life for me despite the very difficult circumstances I was conceived into, which is why I’m proud to March for life with her #March4LifeUK

— Fr. Sean Gough (@FrSeanDGough) September 2, 2023

March for Life UK said in its release that a young woman’s talk about the regret she experienced after having three abortions were “the most moving words of the day” even though pro-abortion counter protesters were trying to “shout her down.”

“I think I can speak for every post-abortive woman [standing] here today that abortion didn’t grant us freedom, but made us captives in one way or another,” the young woman, Ellie, said.

March for Life UK 2023 Parliament Square. Ellie courageously shares her journey from having three abortions to finally finding the freedom to truly live again.

— March4LifeUK (@March4LifeUK) September 4, 2023

The March for Life in the UK will be back for its 10th anniversary next year. Co-director of the march, Ben Thatcher said at the event that his hope is for the march to reach 10,000 attendees, according to the press release.