Yesterday, a mother’s testimony of how she was helped by pro-life counsellors outside an abortion clinic was read out in Parliament. Sir Edward Leigh, Conservative MP for Gainsborough, delivered the testimony of “Kate”, during a debate led by Rupa Huq MP on public order legislation outside “family planning clinics”.
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Since the decision by Ealing council to try and impose a public spaces protection order (PSPO) around the Marie Stopes centre in Mattock Lane, Dr Huq has been campaigning for nationwide legislation, claiming that pro-life groups outside abortion clinics “harass” women. However, the testimony from “Kate” illustrates how untrue these assertions are, and how vital it is that women are allowed access to alternative choices.
“I leapt out of the window”
“I never wanted to go through with an abortion but I felt a lot of pressure from people around me who offered it as a no brainer solution,” the testimony began. “On the way into the clinic at the Marie Stopes clinic at Ealing I was offered a leaflet by a woman who I spoke to briefly. She just told me she was there if I needed her.” Still not happy with being there for an abortion, Kate “leapt out of the ground floor window and cleared 3 fences to escape. I talked to the woman on the gate again, who offered any support I needed to keep my baby and this gave me the confidence to leave where I was supported by the group that this women worked with.”
What would women like me do?
She didn’t find any aggression from the pro-lifers outside the clinic, but was given help to keep her daughter. Her story ended with a powerful message to MPs: “The potential introduction of buffer zones is a really bad idea because women like me, what would they do then? You know, not every woman that walks into those clinics actually wants to go through with the termination. There’s immense pressure, maybe they don’t have financial means to support themselves or their baby, or they feel like there’s no alternatives. These people offer alternatives.
“I had my baby who is now three and a half years old. She’s an amazing, perfect little girl and the love of my life. I want MPs here today calling to introduce buffer zones to realise, that she would not be alive today, if they had their way.”
Sir Edward Leigh spoke to offer a different perspective to that offered by Rupa Huq, who compared the pro-life groups outside Ealing to the “talk all over the media about the harassment of women in Westminster.” She was supported by Paula Sheriff MP, who described “anti-choice protesters” as “reprehensible”, and complained about Government money being given to Life to help vulnerable pregnant women. There was also a bizarre intervention by Diane Abbott, who said that the “guerrilla actions and threatening activity” of pro-life activists are modelled on tactics from America, where clinics have been closed “have been closed following demonstrations, attacks and even bombings.”
No crime or disorder
Nick Hurd, the minister for policing, responded that the Government believes that existing police powers are sufficient to protect people against harassment, but that “the Government will explore whether any further action is needed to ensure that clinic staff and patients can go about their lawful business free from harassment, offence or alarm.” He also stated that pro-life groups deny intimidation, and said such claims were “a million miles away” from his experience of talking to pro-life constituents, who presented the arguments “with great calmness and dignity”. Mr Hurd also confirmed that “the police recently assessed that pro-life demonstrations do not ordinarily result in crime or disorder, and it is rare that police intervention has been called for.”
Exposing the abortion industry in Parliament
Sir Edward Leigh was not the only politician to make a powerful pro-life speech in Parliament yesterday. In the Autumn Adjournment debate, Fiona Bruce MP took the opportunity to respond to Diana Johnson’s debate on the Abortion Act anniversary, held the previous day. She defended the money given to Life, which, she said, “is dwarfed by the amount paid to abortion providers…The Times reported that the head of Marie Stopes International, to which we pay millions of pounds to carry out abortions in the UK and overseas, received a phenomenal £420,000 in one recent year alone—four times the Prime Minister’s salary.”
Fiona Bruce also raised concerns about the CQC reports about Marie Stopes, “including criticism after finding dead, unborn babies in open bins,” and asked why bpas, which is also paid millions in taxpayer’s money, is allowed to spend it on political lobbying for decriminalisation.
LifeNews Note: Courtesy of SPUC. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is a leading pro-life organziation in the United Kingdom.