Ealing Council considers ASBO for pro-life vigils
10 October 2017
Members of Sister Supporter (who accuse pro-lifers of filming women) filming a pavement counsellor outside the Marie Stopes Centre in Mattock Lane.
There's an attempt to ban offering women help outside clinics.
Scroll down to see the vigils defended on the BBC!
Ealing Council will tonight discuss a motion on preventing "anti-abortion protesters from intimidating and harassing women outside the Marie Stopes Clinic on Mattock Lane." The motion, proposed by Labour Counsellor Binda Rai, is in response to a petition organised by Sister Supporter, who hold "counter-demos" outside the clinic.
Desperate attempt to stop dissent
Peaceful pro-life prayer vigils have taken place outside the Marie Stopes Centre on Mattock Lane for 23 years, without anyone being charged with harassment. It seems that because no laws are being broken, Sister Supporter are trying to find new ways to stop pavement counsellors offering help to women. The motion would commit to the Council "to fully explore every possible option and will take all necessary actions within its powers, utilising all necessary resources" to this end.
One of the options being proposed is imposing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) around the clinic. PSPOs, which replaced Asbos, are more commonly used to stop antisocial behaviour such as public drinking and drug-taking. Clare McCullough of the Good Counsel Network, which holds vigils outside the clinic, said: "The whole reason for using this Public Spaces Protection Order, as they're trying to do in Ealing is because there is no harassment or intimidation, or they would be using the current laws to prosecute us."
Offering an alternative
She told the Independent: "I’m amazed at the lengths people will go to stop pregnant women from looking at the alternatives. We try to make sure women are not being pressured into abortion. We’ve had hundreds of women accept help outside Marie Stopes.
"Harassment is a crime. If we were harassing anyone we would be arrested. In fact, what we’re trying to do is help women to have an alternative, if they’re willing to accept it."
The news has unleashed a tirade against pavement counsellors, with Cathy Newman writing in the Telegraph that Anti-abortion protests in Britain are more aggressive than ever, and MP Rupa Huq accusing pro-lifers of "weaponising rosary beads".
News in brief: