Mothers condemn Ealing council report recommending introduction of abortion clinic censorship zone to criminalise prayer and support

A group of mothers helped by vigil members outside abortion clinics have condemned an Ealing Council report that will be considered by the Cabinet on Tuesday 10 April.

The report recommends that the Cabinet proceeds to adopt a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) that would institute a censorship zone (commonly referred to as ‘buffer’ zones) outside of the Marie Stopes Clinic on Mattock Lane. The PSPO is so broadly worded that it criminalises offers of support to women, as well as criminalising  prayer.

The report ignores the testimony of women who have been helped by vigils, and has asked Cabinet members to attach only limited weight to the 1,430 submissions made through the Be Here For Me website to Ealing Council which strongly opposed the introduction of a PSPO.

A petition to Ealing Council Leader Julian Bell opposing the introduction of censorship zones has been signed by 5,960 people.

The Be Here For Me campaign is run by mothers helped by vigil members outside abortion clinics and has been set up to oppose the introduction of censorship zones that would ban help for women outside these facilities. They are being supported by women who have volunteered to help those who want to keep their children but have no help available to them.

Three women have gone public with their stories in a video (https://youtu.be/03xLOhUSr2o) where they tell of the immense pressure they faced to go ahead with a termination; how they were helped by vigils outside an abortion clinic; and why they are calling for the public to oppose censorship zones. Many more women helped by vigils have shared their own personal stories on the www.behereforme.org website.

The Be Here For Me campaign are urging the public to join them at a rally outside the Ealing Town Hall on Tuesday 10 April at 6:30pm ahead of the Ealing Council Cabinet meeting where Ealing Council will decide whether to introduce a censorship zone.

Alina, who was supported outside an abortion centre said:

“What kind of society refuses help for a vulnerable woman? My little girl is here today because of the real practical and emotional support that I was given by a group outside the outside the Marie Stopes clinic. We have launched the Be Here For Me campaign so that our voices can be heard. We are inviting the UK public to come, hear our stories and then stand with us against any attempts to ban support for women like me outside abortion centres.

Jaceline, who was supported outside an abortion centre said:

“My daughter means the world to me. It is really upsetting to know that people are actively trying to ban the offering of support like I received outside the abortion clinic. If censorship zones are brought in, many women who are in similar situations to me will be forced into going ahead with abortions they don’t want.

Asha*, who was supported outside an abortion centre and made a submission to the Ealing Consultation, said in her submission:

“I have personal and direct experience of meeting the pro-life people from the Good Counsel outside the Marie Stopes Clinic on Mattock Lane, Ealing last October when I attended the clinic for a proposed abortion and absolutely refute the Council’s allegations that there is any harassment, name calling or signs of intimidation as women either enter or leave the clinic.”

Elizabeth Howard, who supports mothers outside the Ealing abortion centre said:

“Some women come to abortion centres not wanting an abortion. They deserve to be able to get practical help if they want it.”

Clare Carberry, who supports mothers outside the Ealing abortion centre said:

“Surely even a pro choice person can see that denying the offer of help to women who have none is a profoundly anti choice move. I encourage the comfortable classes to move out of their own safe space. Meet these women, hear what they have to say. Their stories would make the stones weep.”

*’Asha’ has asked that her name be changed to protect her identity.

Be Here For Me campaign

www.behereforme.org

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