The decision by Yvette Cooper to support “Buffer Zones” around abortion clinics to prevent “harassment and intimidation” of women seeking abortions is oblivious to the fact that “harassment and intimidation” is already illegal according to the Public Order Act of 1986 and the Police have ample powers to deal with it should it happen.
The abortion industry is a multi million pound operation. Allegations of harassment and intimidation are not supported by hard evidence. When the people who made the allegations were challenged to produce any evidence there was none. Many legal and law abiding prayer vigils have been threatened with legal or police action.
The abortion industry is looking to demonise peaceful and law-abiding vigils because some women are persuaded not to proceed with an abortion and instead seek the help and support that pro-life organisations offer. When that happens the abortion industry loses money, and that is the real reason they are seeking “buffer zones.”
There is one side to the story that has not been told in the British media, who have believed and promoted the inaccurate idea that pro-lifers are causing harassment. The real story is that the only harassment and intimidation outside abortuaries is towards pro-lifers.
I have been involved with prayer vigils since September 2010. The first sign I saw that something was quite wrong with the situation of abortion in Britain was when I saw abortion proponents wave satanic torture symbols in an attempt to intimidate Christian pro-lifers praying outside abortion centres. It was the first experience that was a hint of the satanic nature of the abortion industry, and the spiritual warfare involved in the destruction of hundreds of thousands of unborn babies every year.
The experience of insinuating satanic torture rituals does not compare to the experience of Dan Miller, a pavement counsellor in Wisconsin. In the 40 Days for Life book, it mentions how he was attacked by a man with a boa constrictor in the street. He described how the evil isn’t abstract, but very real, but in the midst of evil, there have been miracles. In London alone, hundreds of babies have been spared from abortion thanks to pavement counselling, and now the abortion industry is furious because of lost money.
Gandhi once said, “At first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” Arthur Schopenhauer said, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
In recent times, Marie Stopes has threatened the Good Counsel Network with legal action for their presence outside a British abortuary. I wonder how much time it will be until the violent truth about abortion is accepted as self-evident.
Recently, in an event organised by the Bloomsbury pro-choice alliance (BPCA), pro-abortion advocates shouted death threats to the pro-lifers continually, organising aggressive, sacreligious and rude messages to pro-lifers. Meanwhile, BPAS were encouraging such a group, sending BPCA encouraging tweets and messages and accepting cakes as a gesture of goodwill. It’s clear that the actions and behaviour of BPAS encouraged the group to harangue pro-lifers continually.
Little wonder that the name BPAS (The British Pregnancy Advisory Service) is really a euphemism. The reality is that it is a centre where babies are pulled apart surgically. It seems bizarre that the British media are unwilling to address the issue of vested financial interests that abortionists have in providing abortions. It is not possible to give impartial advice when the abortion provider will receive hundreds or thousands of pounds when a women chooses to have an abortion. Abortion providers are looking to expand their ‘business.’ An abortion does not make a woman unpregnant, it makes her the mother of a dead baby.
In organising pro-life vigils I have witnessed frequent verbal abuse from passersby, students throwing buckets of water over pro-lifers, hecklers shouting everything and anything, “Kamikaze” cyclists deliberately riding to destroy pro-life signs, comedians deliver sacrilegious and derogatory jokes, water, eggs and horse dung being thrown at pro-life volunteers. The level of abuse and obscene language has made me wonder how mannerly we really are in England. None of these shenanigans has stopped volunteers from behaving peacefully, prayerfully and legally as well as being kind and respectful.
In over 3,000 hours of organising prayer vigils, never once have I heard a pro-lifer be rude of disrespectful. My experience of the politeness and courtesy of pro-lifers has been beyond reproach. Despite this, BPAS called the police around 100 times to complain about a peaceful and prayerful campaign.
In March 2012, we were accused of filming women entering abortuaries. However, no such filming took place. Most ironically, BPAS film all their clients with a security camera on the outside of the building. Yet an international story was made out of an erroneous claim of harassment, which was swallowed whole by the British media.
Also ignored is the plight of some women, who are wounded or die as a result of the abortion procedure. There have been many ambulances called out to British abortuaries. We have witnessed many women being forced into abortion against their will by an aggressive husband or a forceful mother. We also see the women who are barely able to walk who are leaving the abortion centres, left to fend for themselves. We have seen schoolchildren as young as 14 walk in abortuaries, unaware and unguided by their parents. These are also the women who are harassed, who feel like they have no choice but abortion.
Pavement counsellors have done a tremendous job, offering help, hope, financial help, housing, counselling and support to women at a difficult time. The offer of help to someone in need in a peaceful and calm manner cannot possibly be construed as harassment. Those who are not interested simply walk past. Abortion providers do not offer any such help: it’s an abortion or nothing.
There have been a number of studies that have looked into the experiences of mothers and pro-life vigils outside of abortion facilities. The most recent study is Diana Greene Foster et al, “Effect of abortion protester on women’s emotional response to abortion”, Contraception 87 (2013) 81-87.
956 women were interviewed between 2008 and 2010 at 30 US abortion facilities. Nearly half the women saw protesters. The conclusion of the study was that ‘protesters’ do upset some women seeking abortion services. However, exposure to ‘protesters’ does not seem to have an effect on women’s emotions about abortion 1 week later.
We continue to hope and pray for a day when no more babies die, and no more women cry from the wounds and pain of abortion.