Politicians in Birmingham, England are considering a buffer zone around their local abortion facility that would block pro-life advocates from providing information to women.
The Birmingham Mail reports the proposal would create a 200 meter (656 foot) buffer zone around the Marie Stopes abortion facility in Edgbaston, a distance that basically would end pro-life sidewalk counseling and peaceful pro-life protests in the city.
Councillors Paulette Hamilton and Jayne Francis urged the city council to adopt a buffer zone in a motion earlier this fall, according to the report.
Abortion activists are pushing the proposal with false and misleading claims about protecting women from harassment.
Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, the 40 Days for Life coordinator in Birmingham, told the Mail that abortion activists have not produced any evidence of the alleged harassment.
“I was saddened but not surprised those pushing this motion in the council didn’t bother to contact a single member of the 40 Days for Life team or witness a vigil before making their uninformed decision,” Vaughan-Spruce said.
“Paulette Hamilton’s speech was full of false information from start to finish, implying that someone dresses up as a priest, who is not a priest, and stands at the centre throwing holy water at women and volunteers have physically prevented women from entering,” she continued. “There is a camera trained on the entrance to Marie Stopes so why is evidence never provided for these inflammatory statements?”
Here’s more from the report:
Councillor Hamilton said restrictions had not been raised formally with the authority at that stage but she “very much supported” the position Ealing Council had taken.
Her joint motion said there were “growing concerns” about the harassment of women attending the Marie Stopes centre in Arthur Road with those seeking pregnancy terminations “being targeted” by pro-life protesters.
The motion called it “street harassment” and a “form of sexism against women”.
Abortion activists also are pushing for a nation-wide buffer zone around abortion facilities in England. Earlier this fall, a group of pro-abortion members of parliament (MPs) sent a letter to British Home Secretary Amber Rudd asking her to implement buffer zones around abortion facilities across the country.
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Clare McCullough, the director of Good Counsel Network, a pro-life organization in the UK, also wrote a letter to Rudd in November, describing the importance of pro-life sidewalk counselors and the harm that a buffer zone could cause to women and babies.
“Some women feel they have to abort to avoid homelessness, abuse, desertion and so on,” McCullough said. “These women include illegal immigrants, foreign students, trafficked women and a variety of UK residents who had other pressures on them that were not easy to address. Marie Stopes has no alternatives to offer these women.”
She said her pro-life sidewalk counselors offer peaceful and compassionate information and support to women outside abortion facilities.
“No-one attending our vigils calls women seeking abortion ‘murderers’,” she said in the letter. “If these things were occurring at our vigils, which happen every day, there would be ample opportunity to provide proof of it. There is none.”
McCullough pointed to a statement by Ann Furedi, CEO of the British abortion chain British Pregnancy Advisory Services, who acknowledged that 15 percent of women change their minds inside their abortion facilities.
“Countrywide 15% of women entering abortion centres who have doubts equals tens of thousands of women who, if buffer zones are implemented, will not be offered any alternative by abortion centres,” she said in the letter. “Women who are uncertain about going through with an abortion have a right to be provided with alternative support in a peaceful manner.”
Pro-life advocates also pointed to laws that already prohibit harassment and intimidation.