Court of appeal upholds censorship zone outside abortion centre criminalising speech, assembly and charitable support

The Court of Appeal has upheld a censorship zone outside of an abortion centre in Ealing, London. The appellant, Alina Dulgheriu, has said she will appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Court found that the appellant’s rights to assembly, religion, thought, expression and the reception of information were violated by the Ealing Public Space Protection Order (PSPO). Nevertheless they ruled that such violations were justified because of the right to privacy of Marie Stopes attendees not to be seen in public.

Alina Dulgheriu, a mother who herself had been helped by a local vigil, unsuccessfully challenged the order at the High Court last July after Ealing Council introduced a censorship zone around the Marie Stopes abortion centre.

Alina said:

“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 in Ealing and all across the country do not have this vital support option removed.”

Alina has challenged the Ealing censorship zone because it prevents the help women need to escape an unwanted or coerced abortion. The broadly-worded Ealing PSPO criminalises, among other activities: any act whatsoever of approval or disapproval regarding abortion; prayer; handing out leaflets with an offer of practical support to women who wish to keep their child; ‘Interfering’ with a clinic user in any way whatsoever

Elizabeth Howard, Be Here For Me spokesperson said:

Eight years ago, Alina Dulgheriu found herself jobless, homeless and alone after an unplanned pregnancy. She’d been fired from her job as a live-in nanny and abandoned by her boyfriend. 

She went to Marie Stopes to get advice on her options, but all they could offer her was an abortion. She didn’t want that  but didn’t know where to turn.

Her life was changed when she met a pro-life volunteer at the gates of the abortion centre who told her that she did have options, that there was help available, and that she could keep her baby if she wanted.

She accepted the offer of help and her daughter Sarah was born. She is now seven years old, a beautiful, lively and beloved child.

Ealing Council has banned pro-lifers from helping women like Alina. Alina has challenged their decision in court, but twice the court have ignored her story.

In five years of the pro-life vigil’s work in Ealing, more than 500 women accepted an offer of help and chose to keep their baby rather than have an abortion. These women have tried again and again to have their voices heard, but they are ignored.

In today’s Appeal Court judgement, there is literally not a single sentence, not a single word, dedicated to the women who have been helped by the vigil, who are grateful for the vigil, and who have given the other side of the story.

This is a very sad day for vulnerable women.

Extra £25 million for hospices to ease end-of-life care

Boris Johnson unveils an additional £25 million funding for hospices in a bid to ease end-of-life care 

The funding will come from existing NHS budgets and will alleviate some pressure on hospices which receive most of their financial support from the voluntary sector.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Seeing a loved one nearing the end of their life is one of the hardest things a family will ever experience, so it’s vital that we support our fantastic and hardworking hospice staff to deliver the highest quality palliative care.

“As Prime Minister I am making sure that today our hospices and palliative care services are given a £25 million boost to alleviate the everyday pressures faced on the frontline, helping to ensure they have the resources they need, when they need them.”

Downing Street said the money would help to keep hospices open, “improve the quality of end of life care”, and ensure that people “die as comfortably as possible” – as well as easing workforce pressures.

This additional funding comes at the same time as hospices are under acute financial pressure with, for the first time, one of Britain’s hospices having to close its doors this year.

According to the Government, hospices support more than 200,000 people with terminal or life-limiting conditions every year, as well as help “tens of thousands” of family members needing bereavement support.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“This extra £25 million is extremely welcome not only for people needing hospice care and their families, but also for a society which values the lives of people with terminal or life-limiting conditions.”

“In Oregon, which has had assisted suicide since 1997, over 25% of all those who end their own lives through medically assisted suicide, list “inadequate pain control” as one of their end of life concerns. Almost 45% of people list “burden on family, friends/caregivers” as a concern.”

“Both of these problems can be greatly alleviated by effective and compassionate hospice care. If we want Britain to remain a country free from assisted suicide and euthanasia, one of the most effective things that can be done is to ensure a strong hospice system and excellent end of life care.”