British MPs demand govt ban pro-life counseling outside abortion centers
UNITED KINGDOM, June 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- One hundred sixty-one members of the British Parliament are demanding that Home Secretary Sajid Javid act on a proposal to introduce “exclusion zones” around abortion facilities, which would ban pro-life prayer, protest, and counseling of women conflicted about abortion.
“I understand that he has a busy in-tray, but this could be an easy win for him early on in his career and massively improve the lives of women not only in the mainland UK but in Northern Ireland and the Republic who make daily journeys to clinics like that in my seat in Ealing,” Labour MP Rupa Huq said, The Guardian reported.
Huq wants Javid to act on a review previously submitted by 161 MPs, who deemed exclusion zones necessary outside of 42 abortion facilities in England and Wales. A spokesperson for the Home Office insists work is “continuing,” and that Javid is “committed to the in-depth assessment of protests outside abortion clinics.”
It is “completely unacceptable that anyone should feel harassed or intimidated simply for exercising their legal right to healthcare, advice and treatment,” the spokesperson continued.
But pro-life activists deny that they harass anyone, and argue that it’s vital to offer women considering abortion the information, alternatives, and support they won’t find inside an abortion facility’s doors.
The pro-life Good Counsel Network simply offers “leaflet(s) detailing help, support and alternatives to abortion” and maintains a “witness against abortion” consisting of people “standing away from the abortion centre and praying quietly,” according to the group’s director, Clare McCullough.
Pro-life groups such as the Be Here For Me campaign, which highlights the testimony of mothers thankful that sidewalk counselors persuaded them to choose life, say exclusion zones are unnecessary because no arrests or prosecutions have ever been made against an Ealing pro-lifer in the decades since pro-life vigils began in the community.
“Surely even a pro-choice person can see that denying the offer of help to women who have nothing is a profoundly anti-choice move,” Be Here For Me spokesperson Clare Carberry challenged supporters of exclusion zones.
The local Ealing council previously voted to issue Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) forcing pro-lifers to stay 100 meters away from the Ealing Marie Stopes abortion center, where pro-lifers have witnessed for more than 23 years. Pro-lifers are currently suing to have the PSPO lifted. The case is scheduled to be heard next week.