Angry pro-abortion doc blasts pro-life prayer vigil in Scotland: ‘Makes me so disgusted’

A campaign of fasting, community outreach, and silent prayer in public was too much for one radiologist in Glasgow, Scotland, who confronted 40 Days for Life protesters and called their quiet praying in public “harassment.”

Dr. Greg Irwin is a pediatric radiologist at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland. A vocal abortion supporter who once received a glowing portrait in the Glasgow Times, he recently spoke to several news outlets to describe the anger he felt at the 40 Days for Life prayer campaign, a ministry that takes place in many nations around the world.

In an on-camera interview for The National, he described the silent protest as “causing harassment and intimidation,” as an “incredibly unkind, unfriendly thing to do,” and as “intimidating women, upsetting women.” 

Photos and videos of the pro-lifers show a handful of peaceful demonstrators, including a few pensioners, silently standing with signs with messages like, “Pregnant? Worried? Come talk to us! We can help you,” “Don’t be coerced into abortion,” “10 million abortions in the UK,” and one with an image of a preborn baby in the womb. Some participants can be seen praying with rosary beads, while others appear to be saying quiet prayers while keeping their eyes cast downward. 

According to the 40 Days for Life website, the campaign “focuses on the spiritual aspects of the battle to end abortion.”

“There are stereotypes that people go out and wave Bibles at women and tell them they’re going to burn in hell and, that’s not what we do,” CEO of 40 Days for Life, Shawn Carney, recently told the BBC. “Ours is very peaceful, it’s very law-abiding. It’s very quiet. People can reach out to the women, the women often reach out to us.”

But it’s not the praying that bothers Dr. Irwin so much as it is that he and others have to see a form of public speech that is unpleasant to them.

“They can have a prayer vigil anywhere they like, they do not need to do it right at the gate of the hospital.” In a 2022 interview, he described the problem more personally. “The protesters have been irritating me for years. I have gone out on my work breaks with a ‘your body your choice sign’ and stood beside them so people know they aren’t the only ones here. […] It is unjust. For me to drive past it makes me so disgusted, it is just so horrible,” he said to the Glasgow Times

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His answer to the silent protests? “Safe access zones,” currently before Parliament, that prevent protests where abortion supporters don’t like them. The proposed legislation would create a 150-meter “buffer zone” outside of abortion businesses, as Live Action News has reported

To gain support for the cause, many abortion supporters like Dr. Irwin paint pro-lifers as out of control.

“These protesters are going to be here 12 hours a day for the next 40 days intimidating and harassing women coming to my hospital to access abortion,” he said to The Scotsman. “It is causing great upset. People are in tears, people can’t believe that this is here in Glasgow.”

Irwin believes these prayer vigils are dangerous to the cause of abortion. “They’ve had a terrible effect in America,” said his video interview with The Scotsman. “They’ve managed to repeal Roe v. Wade. They’ve rolled back women’s reproductive rights in America by 50 years. They’ve taken them all the way back to the 70s. This group would love to do the same in Glasgow. They would like to restrict abortion access rights to the women of Scotland and in Glasgow.” 

Recently, pro-lifers who have been arrested for silently praying outside of abortion businesses in the UK have been vindicated, as with Isabel Vaughan-Spruce and Father Sean Gough, who were recently found not guilty for silently praying in front of an abortion facility in Birmingham.

For now, Dr. Irwin and other abortion supporters will still have to bear the sight of pro-lifers in the places they live and work. 

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