Women will suffer if Ealing bans pro-life vigils
9 April 2018
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has spoken out against proposals by Ealing Council to stop campaigners staging peaceful protests outside abortion clinics.
Ealing Council meets tomorrow (10 April) to decide whether to implement a Public Spaces Protection Order around the Marie Stopes abortion centre on Mattock Lane.
But Alithea Williams of SPUC says the Council is only open to one conclusion. "The very wording of the Council’s consultation presupposes that harassment is taking place, and there was nothing to stop ideological opponents of the vigils making submissions without substantive proof. The whole process has been designed from the start to ban a vigil that has been taking place without incident for over 20 years.
"If this PSPO comes into force, it will be a clear breach of the vigil participants’ right to free speech and freedom of religion,” she continued. "However, it is important to remember that the people who will really suffer are the hundreds of women who will be denied support.
"Women who have been helped by the Good Counsel Network have been speaking out about the help they received which allowed them to keep their babies, and how upset they are that this help might be denied to other women. Many of these women felt that they had no choice but to seek abortion. The presence of a pro-life counsellor, peacefully offering them a leaflet, gave them that choice. Why does Ealing Council want to take the option of life-affirming help away from women?
"There has been a lot of rhetoric around the idea that women approaching an abortion clinic have already made their decision,” Miss Williams said. “However, research shows that women are frequently ambivalent about an abortion decision, and reasons for seeking an abortion are far more complex than simply not wanting to be pregnant. Reasons include relationship problems, pressure from partners and family members, study and career aspirations, financial difficulties, lack of confidence as a mother, and lack of community support. It is not acceptable that any of these factors should lead to a woman having an abortion she doesn’t want, and so it is vital that counsellors, who can help in all these areas, are there to offer a lifeline.
"Nor is it acceptable for the abortion industry to say that they offer counselling and no more is needed,” she concluded. “Only last year, a Marie Stopes clinic in Kent was slammed by the Care Quality Commission for a catalogue of abuses and safety violations, as well as a 'culture that worked against patient choice.'
"This, and a series of other CQC reports severely censuring Marie Stopes on various grounds, not least in relation to the safety of women, show just how little the abortion industry cares about women. Pro-life counsellors do. We call on Ealing Council not to fall for the abortion industry’s propaganda, and not to deprive women of the true choice offered by peaceful pro-life vigils."
Notes to editors:
For more information, please contact Alithea Williams, SPUC's Communications Officer, on: