Today, 12th December, the Home Affairs Select Committee, heard evidence about the pro-life activity outside abortion clinics. The committee heard from Ealing Councillors, abortion industry representatives, and pro-life campaigners.
Antonia Tully, Campaign Director of SPUC was one of those who gave evidence this morning to the Committee. The Committee was chaired by the Labour MP, Yvette Cooper, who has a strong pro-abortion voting record and has campaigned for buffer zones. The line of questioning throughout was whether or not harassment and intimidation was taking place outside abortion clinics. Mrs Tully and Mrs McCullough stated clearly throughout that there was no evidence that such incidents have been taking place. Indeed, the committee, Ealing councillors and Clare Murphy from BPAS recognised that there had been no prosecutions. Commenting, after the proceedings, on the lack of evidence, Mrs Tully said: “The proceedings today exposed the utter lack of evidence that the abortion lobby has to justify its campaign to shut down pro-life vigils through illiberal buffer zones. Therefore, such drastic and disproportionate measures, either locally or nationally, should not be considered.”
SPUC itself does not organise peaceful vigils outside abortion clinics, however the Society is committed to ensuring that pro-life organisations, like the Good Counsel Network must be allowed the opportunity to offer women the help that is not being offered anywhere else. Commenting on those, Mrs Tully said: “It’s disingenuous for the abortion industry to call themselves pro-choice, when in reality such groups as MSI and BPAS offer no alternatives to abortion. Indeed, the abortion industry seems to be more concerned about silencing those who would offer genuine and caring alternatives to killing one’s child.”
At one dramatic moment, during the course of proceedings, the Chair, Ms Cooper, asked Mrs Clare McCullough “Are you saying MSI and BPAS are telling lies?” To which Mrs Mccullough replied, “Yes!”
What was striking was that no reference to the recent and damning CQC reports was permitted, when Mrs Tully raised the issue. However, MSI and BPAS were given ample opportunity to describe the high standards, practise and counselling that they offer, the very points that were heavily criticised by the CQC.
Commenting after the proceedings, Mrs McCullough said: “As a small organisation we are impressed by the huge attempts being made by Marie Stopes and BPAS to stop vulnerable women being offered alternatives to abortion by us outside their centres. It’s tragic that they would put profits before real choice for women.”