Nick Benson

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Pro-lifers saved my baby

Mum condemns council plan to ban campaigners from abortion clinic after their words helped her change mind over termination

A mother who decided not to have an abortion after meeting a pro-lifer outside an abortion clinic has condemned council proposals to bring in buffer zones at the clinics as “a trick” by abortion providers “so that they can kill more children”.

Life-affirming women’s organisation The Good Counsel Network has challenged councils to listen to women who have been supported by pro-life groups offering women alternatives to terminations outside abortion clinics.

In a new video uploaded to their website the pro-life organisation points out that the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) – ‘one of the UK’s major private abortion clinic chains’ – has long campaigned for buffer zones around abortion centres to prevent pro-life advocates offering women alternatives to abortion.

The Good Counsel Network adds that although BPAS is supported by other abortion providers and its friends in the media, they refuse to acknowledge the stories of hundreds of women who have turned their backs on an abortion after they ‘found help to change their abortion decision on the doorstep of a clinic’.

Each year The Good Counsel Network helps hundreds of women to choose life for their children instead of abortion and its video goes on to hear testimonies from some of these women, including Betty, who believes God played a major role in sending The Good Counsel Network her way so that she could keep her child, Isiah.

Betty said she felt she had to have an abortion because of pressing financial and accommodation problems but after meeting a member of The Good Counsel Network, their words made her think again.

“They were kind and offered me the support I needed,” she said. However, Betty revealed that when she told the Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing that she had decided against going through with the termination, staff members “turned on me in anger”.

Ealing Council recently voted to begin a public consultation on whether a public space protection order (PSPO) should be introduced to prevent pro-life vigils outside a Marie Stopes clinic in the west London borough.

When asked whether it was a good idea to stop pro-life groups from speaking to women outside abortion clinics Betty responded: “That is their trick so that they can kill more children… if somebody had not been there to see me I would have gone in and who knows? I could have had an abortion.

“I look at my child now and sometimes I don’t want to think about what nearly happened. If I hadn’t found someone at that time I could have gone through with it.”

Clare McCullough, one of the founders of The Good Counsel Network, suggested that the buffer zones were in fact more focused on the well- being of abortion providers rather than vulnerable women.

“It’s clear that the move to bring in buffer zones outside abortion centres is aimed at protecting the profits of the big abortion chains, British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes,” she told The Universe.

Mrs McCullough also rubbished claims that pro-lifers were harassing women who enter abortion clinics.

“We totally reject the claims of shouting, insulting women, blocking gates or following women.

Mrs McCullough added: “We have had peaceful prayer vigils for over 20 years with no arrests or cautions, but hundreds of women have sought our assistance to choose life for their children. You can hear from some of them at www.goodcounselnetwork.com.”

Antonia Tully from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), told The Universe: “Peaceful, prayerful pro-life vigils must continue to offer help to desperate women. Many women are ambivalent about abortion and the presence of groups such as the Good Counsel Network offers a lifeline to such women.”

SPUC also condemned a motion put forward to Manchester City Council at a recent meeting, which attacks pro-life vigils outside abortion clinics. John Marechal of the SPUC Manchester Region told The Universe: “It is quite wrong to label these peaceful vigils as ‘protests’.

“Local people simply pray quietly and offer help to any woman approaching the abortion clinic who wants support and advice. Many children are alive today because of the help their mothers received through an encounter with a pro-life vigil.

“The motion before Manchester City Council is trying to stop law-abiding citizens from offering help to vulnerable women.”

• To find out more about The Good Counsel Network, or hear more from the mothers it has supported, see www.goodcounselnetwork.com

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