The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, yesterday announced a review into “harassment and intimidation near abortion clinics.” The Home Office announcement begins with the assertion that “some women have been subjected to harassment and intimidating behaviour from protesters when visiting family planning clinics to seek information, advice and services from medical professionals.”
Amber Rudd is quoted as saying: “While everyone has a right to peaceful protest, it is completely unacceptable that anyone should feel harassed or intimidated simply for exercising their legal right to healthcare advice and treatment.”
The review will gather evidence from police forces, healthcare providers and local authorities “to understand the scale and nature of these protests, before considering what further action the government can take to protect those using or working in abortion clinics.”
The announcement appears to be in response to the concerted campaign against pro-life vigils by Labour MP Rupa Huq. Last week, Clare McCullough, head of the Good Counsel Network, which runs several prayer vigils in London, warned Ms Rudd that buffer zones would deny women in need alternatives to abortion. Their life-saving work was highlighted in Parliament by Sir Edward Leigh, who read out the testimony of “Kate” who jumped out of an abortion clinic window to seek help from counsellors.
A fair process?
In a press release, SPUC’s Antonia Tully condemned the way the news was announced, saying: “The misleading and inflammatory terms used by Amber Rudd to announce the Home Office review are likely to prejudice its outcome and result in vulnerable women being denied vital information which, almost every day, leads a woman to rethink or decide against having an abortion.”
Urgent – write to your MP
Today, SPUC CEO John Smeaton has written to members to request they contact their MP, asking him or her to write to Amber Rudd “objecting to the terms of this biased review.” He points out that the review is based on the unfounded assumption that harassment and intimidation are taking place. In addition, the basis of the review is not if anything more is needed in addition to existing legislation against harassment and intimidation, but what more needs to be done.
Mr Smeaton concluded the letter saying: “This Home Office review is a wholly inappropriate response to small numbers of prayerful people who offer leaflets to women. These leaflets let women know where they can get help, which they cannot get anywhere else. Please make this your number one pro-life priority. Nothing is more urgent.”
LifeNews Note: Courtesy of SPUC. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is a leading pro-life organziation in the United Kingdom.