Ealing Council Bans Pro-Life Demonstrations Outside Abortion Clinic
Ealing council have become the first in the UK to ban pro-life protests outside of an abortion clinic, sparking a major controversy both within the community and across the UK.
The London council unanimously voted to ban all pro-life protestors from demonstrating outside of the Marie Stopes clinic in the borough.
The clinic, which provides abortions for women in Ealing, has been the location of pro-life life protests for a number of decades though more pro-abortion protesters have taken to counter-protesting in recent years.
Richard Bentley, the managing director of Marie Stopes UK, said: “This is a landmark decision for women. We are incredibly grateful to Ealing Council for recognising the emotional distress that these groups create, and for taking proportionate action to protect the privacy and dignity of women accessing our clinic in the borough,” he said.
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“This was never about protest. It was about small groups of strangers choosing to gather by our entrance gates where they could harass and intimidate women, and try to prevent them from accessing healthcare to which they are legally entitled.”
However, Alina Dulgheriu, a spokesman for the group Be Here For Me – which offers financial and emotional support to women considering abortions – said that when she was walking in to get an abortion, a campaigner handed her a leaflet offering support so she “went with her and got all the help I need and thanks to them I have my child”.
Speaking of her 6-year-old daughter – whose life was saved by pro-life charities, she said: “She’s my pride, she’s my strength, without her I would not be the person I am today.”
She argued that banning the pro-life organisations from campaigning would “remove life-saving help when it’s most needed”.
“I was given a real choice by the woman at the gate,” she added.
Speaking exclusively to Kipper Central, UKIP London Assembly Member David Kurten said: “The ban on pro-life vigils outside the Marie Stopes abortion centre in Ealing is a chilling erosion on free speech.”
Only one @LondonAssembly member, @davidkurten came to meet Mothers helped by us. Shame that the others did not bother, although they will debate banning such help today. Let's hope they have all seen some of the vedios of Mums on https://t.co/hkciTW9P9T pic.twitter.com/pkRJM4Ni6i
— Good Counsel Network (@GoodCounselNet) December 21, 2017
He continued: “Peaceful pro-life demonstrations have been going on for over 20 years and there were no complaints until very recently when pro-abortion protestors decided to start noisy ‘counter-protests’.
“The Public Space Protection Order from Ealing Council means that pro-life advocates are not even allowed to conduct silent prayer, let alone hand out leaflets which offer a real choice to mothers.
“The Good Counsel and other groups are able to offer financial advice and find accommodation to mothers who really do not want to have an abortion, but have not been offered any other alternative by their doctors.
“It is the voiceless and the vulnerable who will suffer the most by this decision.”