The pro-lifers exposing intolerant liberalism
”First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win,” so the saying goes. I am sure the Good Counsel Network is aware of this dynamic, which is ongoing in its apostolate outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing, west London, where for years they have conducted a peaceful prayer vigil and had a pavement counsellor in place.
A couple of people on the opposite side of the road from the clinic pray quietly. The pavement counsellor alone respectfully and calmly approaches a woman entering the clinic and hands her a leaflet detailing Good Counsel’s offer of housing, financial and moral support to a mother about to abort because she is overwhelmed by the practical difficulties of keeping her baby.
Over 20-odd years Good Counsel have saved hundreds of lives. They currently house some 40 women who changed their minds and decided to keep their children. For so doing the Good Counsel has now been made the object of a Public Space Protection Order to prevent them assembling outside the clinic in Ealing. Marie Stopes’s website demands that this now become national policy and that no women should be “harassed” as they go into their clinics.
Inspired by the local MP, Rupa Huq, the passing of this measure – a power to exclude the right of being in a public space of those proven likely to commit anti-social or criminal behaviour – relies on an inaccurate portrayal of what was actually taking place. It is an abuse of the law, and in order to suppress the right of peaceful assembly the truth has been twisted beyond recognition. The MP has characterised the rosaries of a couple of people praying quietly as “weapons”. The behaviour of the counsellors was misrepresented as intended to intimidate and implicitly threaten staff and clients entering the clinic.
As anyone who has ever joined such a vigil or attended a March for Life knows, the intimidation is entirely from the other side. So intimidating is it, apparently, to find people outside an abortuary that the pro-abortion Sister Support had 50 of their members stand outside to provide support for the single option allowed by the “pro-choice” lobby.
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