08 November 2017, The Tablet

Woman describes dramatic change of mind on abortion

Catholic MP tells the story of a woman who felt supported by a pro-life vigil outside a family planning clinic

Woman describes dramatic change of mind on abortion

A debate in Parliament has heard the story of a woman who felt supported by a pro-life vigil outside  a family planning clinic such that she changed her mind and had her baby.

The debate, "Public Order legislation relating to family planning clinics", in Westminster Hall, was led by Rupa Huq MP who has been campaigning to ban pro-life vigils outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing and elsewhere.

Sir Edward Leigh, the prominent Catholic and Conservative MP, detailed the pressure the women had come under to go through with a termination.

He described how she then leapt out the ground floor window of the clinic and cleared three fences to escape.

“I had my baby who is now three and a half years old. She’s an amazing, perfect little girl and the love of my life. I want MPs here today calling to introduce buffer zones to realise, that she would not be alive today, if they had their way," she said in testimony read out by Leigh.

“I never wanted to go through with an abortion but I felt a lot of pressure from people around me who offered it as a no brainer solution."

On her way into the clinic at the Marie Stopes clinic at Ealing she was offered a leaflet by a woman she spoke to briefly. "She just told me she was there if I needed her. I then went into the clinic, still not happy about being there for an abortion, but under immense pressure from a group of people that were with me to go through with it.

"Once in the clinic, while the group were distracted I leapt out of the ground floor window and cleared three fences to escape. I talked to the woman on the gate again, who offered any support I needed to keep my baby and this gave me the confidence to leave where I was supported by the group that this women worked with.

"I didn’t find any aggression from the people offering support outside the Ealing clinic at all. They did have leaflets documenting the development of a baby, a foetus, in the early stages.

"The potential introduction of buffer zones is a really bad idea because women like me, what would they do then? You know, not every woman that walks into those clinics actually wants to go through with the termination. There’s immense pressure, maybe they don’t have financial means to support themselves or their baby, or they feel like there’s no alternatives. These people offer alternatives."

Peter Williams, executive officer of Right To Life, said: “It was so good to finally hear in public from one of the many women who have kept their babies because of the support they have received from pro-life vigils outside an abortion clinic. Buffer zones would remove this option for women. Instead they would be left with the high pressure sales tactics of an industry that has just been investigated by the Care Quality Commission who reported that they had been paying bonuses to staff for persuading women to go ahead with abortions.”  

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