Pro-abortion Labour MP Rupa Huq has called for a nationwide ban on protests outside abortion clinics by pro-life activists who hold vigils and offer support to prospective mothers outside the clinics.
The Member of Parliament for Ealing Central and Acton — who campaigned to successfully impose a so-called ‘exclusion zone’ of 100-metres (330 ft) at the Marie Stopes abortion clinic in her constituency — said that the ban should be extended to the whole country. Huq will introduce the proposed ban to the House of Commons on Tuesday.
“This bill would have them moved away from clinic gates of all abortion facilities so they can stop the emotional blackmail of calling women approaching ‘mum’, lining the pavement with gruesome foetus dolls and images and filming women to shame them,” Dr Huq told the BBC.
“This is a national problem… that requires a national solution,” she said, adding that the process of imposing exclusion zones is “too hard, expensive, and the evidence burden is too high to expect councils to pick this up themselves”.
To become law, Huq’s nationwide ban would need support from the Conservative Party.
Campaigner Alina Dulgheriu, who said that the pro-life demonstrators convinced her to keep her child, saying that the ban “criminalises speech, assembly, charitable support and prayer”.
“My little girl is here today because of the real practical and emotional support that I was given by a group outside a Marie Stopes centre, and I am going to appeal this decision to ensure that women do not have this vital support option removed,” Ms Dulgheriu said.
“I cannot imagine a society where a simple offer of help to a woman who might want to keep her child is seen as a criminal offence,” Dulgheriu lamented.
Tell your MP to support the bill! https://t.co/I8pKO3VBEM
— Rupa Huq MP (@RupaHuq) June 24, 2020
In 2018, the High Court of England and Wales ruled that the “public space protection order” (PSPO) that prohibited prayer groups from gathering outside the London abortion clinic was legal.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Turner said that while the ban did indeed infringe upon the human rights of pro-life activists, he said that that the local council had the right to decide that exclusion zones are a “necessary step in a democratic society”.
The pro-life vigils were organised by the Good Counsel Network, a Christian organisation that has said that they have convinced hundreds of women to keep their children over the course of two decades of demonstrating outside the abortion clinic.
Writing for Breitbart London in 2018, London Assembly member David Kurten described his experience of meeting mothers helped by the Good Counsel Network:
What struck me is that all of the mothers who have received the help and assistance of pro-life groups were full of joy that they had their children, but most of them lived in very difficult social and economic circumstances. They didn’t want to have their babies terminated, but had been given no other option; until they met a helping hand, they felt as though it was the only option.
Mothers who have been helped by the pro-life group have also praised the role the Good Counsel Network played in saving their children in a video promoted by the group.
Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka