Marie Stopes threatens Bloemfontein doctor over pro-life protests

A pro-life protester outside the National Hospital in Bloemfontein. The poster and small coffin in the photograph are like those used in protests outside Marie Stopes Clinic in Bloemfontein.

Marie Stopes Clinic in Bloemfontein says pro-lifers who stage protests outside the abortion clinic are unlawfully harrassing and intimidating clinic personnel and clients. They have warned pro-life doctor and protest co-ordinator, Faan Oosthuizen that they will take legal action unless he agrees, in writing, to conduct the protests peacefully and lawfully.

In a written response to a letter from Marie Stopes’ attorneys, Philip Rosenthal, of Christian View Network, says, on behalf of Oosthuizen, that the allegations of unlawful protest action are unsubstantiated. Rosenthal says that the use of coffins, taking of photographs and videos, and displaying of posters that refer to “killing babies”, are common practice in pro-life protests in South Africa and around the world. He disputes the clinic’s view that these protest actions amount to unlawful intimidation, harrassment, preventing access to the clinic and denying people’s constitutional rights.

In a letter to Oosthuizen, Nothnagel Attorneys Conveyancers, say that the protests started on October 18 and have become increasingly intimidatory, requiring Marie Stopes to hire security personnel for the safety of its staff and clients as from November 7. The letter says that unless Oosthuizen provides a written undertaking to conduct protests “in a peaceful and unarmed manner” in accordance with the law and the constitution, they may launch an urgent application to the Free State High Court for interdictory relief and that Oosthuizen would be liable for legal costs.

In his response, Rosenthal says the attorneys should provide facts to substantiate their allegations of unlawful protest action. He also says that Marie Stopes derives most of its income from the killing of innocent unborn babies and therefore any legal fees they pay to the atorneys is likely to be from ‘blood money’.

“Further in defending their actions of killing babies and seeking to intimidate protesters, your firm is effectively sharing their guilt with Marie Stopes,” Rosenthal says.

He also refers to a telephone conversation in which he says the clinic’s legal firm pointed out that abortion was legal in South Africa. He says pro-lifers are entitled to protest against unjust laws just as anti-apartheid campaigners campaigned against the injustice of apartheid laws.

“The pro-life movement intends to continue protesting until the unjust abortion law is reversed,” he says.

The legal threats from Marie Stopes are not the first that Oosthuizen has faced in his campaigning against the evil of abortion. He was fired by the Free State National Hospital in February 2009 for participating in protest action and campaigns against the termination of pregnancies by the Free State Health Department as far back as 2006. Subsequently the Public Servants Association of SA ruled that his dismissal was unfair and he was reinstated.

In a recent post on the Free Stare Pro-Life Network Facebook Page, Oosthuizen spells out a plan of action for protests outside Marie Stopes Clinic and the National Hospital.

“Every God-fearing believer in Bloemfontein is now requested and encouraged do their Christian duty and to book an hour or two per month or as much time and as often as possible to go and protest against abortion,” he writes.

In another impassioned Facebook post he says that in general South African Christians fail to defend the lives of the least — unborn babies. “This is a sign of very serious lovelessness, spiritual illness, blindness, selfishness and egocentricity,” he says.


  1. Faan, God bless you for standing up for what is right. Dont give up. Nobody can prevent you from standing in a public place. You must be making an impact in ruining the abortion money making business otherwise Marie Stopes abortuary would not bother with you.

  2. I know Faan. He is a peacefll man, will never be an agressor, just fighting silently in prayer and with pictures the cause of the silent unborn child, who should have rights. I wish more Christians would stand up publicly.

  3. Keep on, don’t stop. The Lord, your God, will protect you.

  4. Hendrik van Niekerk

    ek probeer maar my deel ook om so ver moontlik die vry-aborsieplakkate af te skeur

  5. I am not speaking out for or against abortion but I am interested to know whether the readers who have commented feel there are times when abortion should be allowed, in case of rape or incest, for example? What are the edtiors’s view on the subject?

    • Hi Melody. My view is that it would be wrong to punish the innocent children for the sins of the fathers. Interestingly, Rebecca Kiessling, who is a pro-life attorney in the US, and who was conceived through rape, says that studies show that only 15 to 25% of rape victims actually choose abortion. She says the typical rape victim chooses to keep HER child — not the rapist’s baby. I saw an interesting movie recently that tells the story of a young woman who is raped and chooses to keep her baby AND forgive the rapist!: it’s called Loving The Bad Man and is available on DVD.

  6. I think it must be terrible punishment for a young girl who has been gang-raped (and unfortunately we have incidents like this in SA) to have to carry a baby that she doesn’t want. Worse for a girl who has been raped by her father or her brother or her ungle (again this is not uncommon in SA) to carry a baby that is likely to be born deformed. What cruelty. I do not support unqualified abortion but I think women should also have some say over what happens to their bodies. I dont think this is something that can be decided by religious men who knows what is best for them.

    • I hear your heart for women facing unwanted pregnancies. I do salute the many raped women who choose not to kill their babies! The violence against women and children in our country is an abomination and I feel that abortion is another facet of that violence.

  7. I don’t believe, as I have said, in unqualified abortions, but ultimately I believe that we have free will, this is a gift to us. If we misuse it then that is between us and God. The idea that a male person who has no concept of what it is like to carry a child, or to experience rape, can decide for women, is absolutely not on in my book.

    • I understand and respect your view. The view that I and many Christian women and men share is that God considers life to begin at conception and expects us to protect unborn babies, not kill them.

  8. Yes, I understand that. It is exactly the same view held by fundamentalist Jews and Muslims. It is the belief that has allowed religious men to control women and their bodies throughout the history of all religions. As you say many Christians believe this. You follow in the footsteps of the pope. Fortunately, in my experience, God is infinitely more compassionate and understanding than the pope and his Christian followers.

  9. To add, I find it a bit paradoxical that Christians in some countries (Uganda for example) believe that homosexual people shoud be punished with the death penalty and yet they are pro life when it comes to abortion. What do you and your readers think? Are you opposed to killing in any form, in any context? Are you opposed to military call up (because it involves killing)? Are you, like the pope, opposed to contraception because it puts an end to a life that God might want to bring into the world? Are you all vegetarians because you oppose taking animal life? You see this is my problem…double standards, double standards everywhere in the Christian community. It makes it very difficult for me to take these protestors seriously, though I must confess I would have more sympathy for them if they were women.

    • Hi again Melody. LOL. Then you would love the pro-life outings I have attended in PE. Usually I am the only man! Let’s see if some of our readers respond to your latest questions. Most of the Jesus-followers I know wrestle with all kinds of issues when it comes to the practical application of their faith. So there is not a one-size-fits-all position on all of these questions. My own position on abortion has taken years of prayer and reflection and meditation on Scripture to settle into conviction. I have friends and fellow Christ-followers who share my conviction on abortion but differ with me on other contentious issues. That’s okay. But I draw the line at hanging gays. Not cool! Have a wonderful, blessed weekend. I am dog tired now, and signing out.