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Single mum takes Council to European Court over ban on supporting women facing crisis pregnancies outside abortion clinic

A single mother has taken her case against Ealing Council to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after the Council created a censorship zone around the Ealing abortion clinic criminalising offers of help and counselling as well as prayer.

Alina Dulgheriu felt that abortion was her only choice after being left “alone” and “abandoned” by her partner in a crisis pregnancy. Fortunately, a pro-life group outside the clinic offered her the material, financial and emotional support that she needed to continue her pregnancy.

In 2018, Ealing Council introduced a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which criminalised the offer of counselling and even prayer outside the abortion facility in Ealing. The High Court, while siding with Ealing Council, did accept that the PSPO was an infringement on the right to freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly. The Court of Appeal also sided with the Council.

Alina takes her case to the ECHR

The UK’s Supreme Court refused to hear Alina’s case which means her only legal option is to take her case to the ECHR. A successful challenge could set a precedent for 820 million Europeans across the continent, and make a clear statement about the compatibility of censorship zones and human rights law.

Alina stated: “What kind of society withholds help from vulnerable women? I’m challenging Ealing Council’s PSPO at the ECHR because my experience is typical for many hundreds of others. I didn’t want an abortion but I was abandoned by my partner, my friends and society. My financial situation at the time would have made raising a child very challenging.

“Thanks to the help I was offered by a group outside of a clinic before my appointment, my daughter is here today. Refusing this charity from offering much-needed services and resources for women in my situation is wrong. Let them help.

“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 [abortion] centre, and I am going to appeal this decision to ensure that women do not have this vital support option removed.”

A local supporter of Alina’s case, Clare Mulvaney, said:

I would invite anyone who opposes Alina’s case to speak first-hand to the women that have received life-changing help. Their stories are heart-breaking. The help offered is transformative.

“This is not about being “pro-life” or “pro-choice” – this is about offering emotional, financial and material support to women in need. And that support has been taken away without good reason.

Over 500 women chose not to have an abortion

A spokesperson for the Be Here For Me campaign said that before the censorship zone was brought into force outside the Ealing abortion centre, over 500 women had accepted an offer of help and chose to keep their baby rather than have an abortion.

Additionally, in 2017, the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee heard that there was no probative evidence to suggest women were being harassed outside abortion facilities, whether in Ealing, Portsmouth, Birmingham, or elsewhere in the country. Former Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, chose not to introduce nationwide censorship zones as this would be disproportional to the ‘passive’ nature of the activities outside of the abortion centres.

A number of prominent human rights campaigners, including those who would describe themselves as pro-abortion and ‘pro-choice’, agree. They have expressed their concerns about the ease with which the use of criminalised free speech zones allow councils to override basic human rights law.

Right To Life UK’s spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “This case shows the falsehood of the ‘pro-choice’ position. Groups that actually want to offer women a real choice, a genuine alternative to abortion through the offer of financial, material and emotional support, are being denied the opportunity to offer that support. Those supporting the criminalising of offers of support are not in favour of choice at all.

“Alina and hundreds of others were able to choose life after being given the help they needed. Ealing Council wants to deny that help to others. Hopefully, the ECHR will see the wrongfulness of the Council’s actions and set a precedent that permits groups to offer help and support to women in need outside abortion centres”

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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