Ealing Council strikes at freedom of assembly

Protesters outside the Marie Stopes abortion facility. Ealing Council will prevent their witness.

Protesters outside the Marie Stopes abortion facility. Ealing Council will prevent their witness.

Ealing Council will create a protest exclusion zone outside an abortion clinic, according to a BBC report.  The unanimous Cabinet decision will prevent pro-life vigils within 100 metres (whatever those are) of the building. The Council will make a ‘Public Spaces Protection Order.’ That can be done under Section 59 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

BBC’s use of language

The BBC refer to the proposed area as a ‘safe zone’.   So does Ealing Council.  On its website, the Council says: ‘The safe zone can be introduced immediately once the five day call in period has passed’.  That, it says, means on ‘Monday, 23 April 2018’.

Those attending the Marie Stopes clinic in Mattock Lane W5 will be ‘safe’ from suggestions they might think again.  The BBC says women ‘complained of intimidation by protesters’.

However, the ‘Good Counsel Network‘ denies harassing women.  It holds daily vigils outside the centre.

Pro-abortion protesters outside Marie Stopes

Pro-abortion protesters outside Marie Stopes

The decision, says the BBC,  will apply ‘to both anti-abortion and pro-choice campaigners.’  And in that very wording, the BBC betrays its prejudice.  So let’s give ours away.  These are ‘pro-life’ as opposed to ‘pro-death’ or at the very least, ‘pro-abortion’ campaigners.  Because there are some ‘choices’ human beings may never be allowed to make.  And killing another human being is one of them.

Matt 19:18  He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness…

Abortion is not ‘healthcare’

Apparently, ‘applause in broke out in the Ealing council cabinet room following the decision’.  Nevertheless, ‘a protestor (sic) then interrupted the meeting and accused the council of taking away their rights.’  There’s always one trouble-maker, isn’t there?

Healthcare? Results of a vacuum abortion. Most abortions are carried out by this method in the first trimester.

Healthcare? Results of a vacuum abortion. Most abortions are carried out by this method in the first trimester.

Richard Bentley, Marie Stopes UK managing director, said: “This is a landmark decision for women.

“This was never about protest. It was about small groups of strangers choosing to gather by our entrance gates where they could harass and intimidate women and try to prevent them from accessing healthcare to which they are legally entitled.”

‘Healthcare?’  Ripping an unborn child out of its mother’s womb is not ‘healthcare’.  It’s infanticide.

Prov 6:16  These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him. 17  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood …

Ealing Council could set a trend

More than 300 people wrote to the council describing the pro-life protesters as “intimidating and harassing”.  In response, ‘those against abortion have said women are not being offered enough alternatives.’

Cllr Julian Bell (Labour)

Cllr Julian Bell (Labour)

A report presented to the council cabinet concluded that, following unsuccessful attempts to negotiate an informal “safe zone” near the clinic entrance, a public spaces protection order was appropriate.

The report also refers to “continued deployment of policing resources” outside the clinic.  This was an “unusual and unnecessary use of local policing resources that could be deployed elsewhere”.  But it seems the police were there to prevent trouble from pro-abortionists.

The BBC says the decision ‘could pave the way for other councils to follow suit.’  Council leader Julian Bell said he felt the cabinet had done “absolutely” the right thing.  He said: “I believe that this is something that’s long been needed.  So it feels good that we are actually breaking the ground with this and leading the way.  “I’m personally a practising Christian myself and so I think it’s important to recognise that this is about protecting women from harassment and intimidation.”

Sham consultation

Elizabeth Howard, a spokeswoman for Be Here for Me, said: “It’s what we expected, after really what can only be described as a sham consultation by the council.

Index on Censorship agrees.  The free-speech lobby group points out the consultation on exclusion zones ‘was not open to non residents of the borough’.

Moreover, it says the zone ‘sets a dangerous precedent that could have far-reaching impacts on the right to protest and freedom of expression.

‘There are alternative legal remedies already on the books that can be used to police harassing and intimidating behaviour, as Ealing’s own options document pointed out.’

‘unlawful and disproportionate’

Index on Censorship goes on:  ‘The use of buffer zones to prevent protests could be used against all forms of speech – including those that wish to protest on environmental or political issues, for example.’

Additionally, they say they wrote the leader of the Ealing Council in March.  In their letter, they described the zones as ‘potentially unlawful and disproportionate’.

Ealing says: ‘Councillors agreed that the need to provide safe, unimpeded access to the clinic in the safe zone can be balanced with the Equality Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.’  Whether that is true may well soon be decided in a court of law.

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  1. Perhaps there is a difference between demonstrating to those who could change a law, and and demonstrating to those who are citizens legitimately going about a lawful activity ? It might also make sense to distinguish between the directors of the clinic (or whoever owns or runs it) and the clients.

    Similarly with a book. If you wanted a book banned, you might demonstrate outside parliament, or to the publisher or the author, but not harass people who had legally bought the book. I don’t think those who were opposed to The Satanic Verses did that (in fact they bought so many copies to wave and burn, that they probably boosted the sales quite a bit, as also with their publicity).

    And if you were in favour of free-range eggs, I don’t it would be reasonable to harass people who had bought non-free-range eggs. There are educational factors, but it seems reasonably to believe that women entering an abortion clinic have probably already thought about it quite a lot.

    1. Why would it be reasonable to think that?

      1. Surely a Christian should know that Christ, for that is who CHRISTians claim to follow, endorsed the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”
        Murdering babies is killing them.

  2. Will the pspo make it an offence to preach the Gospel of Christ on the street but within the 100m exclusion zone?

    1. Aha! We shall have to wait to see when it is published. It seems to have been put back to next Monday, 23rd April.

  3. Harassment is a negative activity. In the case in question one could speak of harassment if people physically blocked the entrance to the house or if they used vulgar or aggessive language towards the women seeking the services of the abortion company. If anything like that had happened in the past, the police would have taken action.
    In fact the people stand holding posters or texts giving infromation, and they give out leaflets offering help. This cannot be construed as harassment in the normal sense of the word.
    The real problem of course is that the baby-killing business loses customers.
    David Prentis

  4. It is negative activity in the sense that they are positive they want an abortion, and you are opposed to this because you take a negative view of abortion. “Positive” and “negative” are very subjective terms.

    1. Rox G, did you not see the picture of what happens to a baby once they enter this place?

      1. he’ll probably say it is a “clump of cells”, ccsaxton

        1. No, I made a quite different comment, but it is being “moderated”.

            • BigMarktheGeezer
            • Mark J on 23 April 2018 at 17:53

            ah yes, the dreaded “moderation”, Rox: I’ve had a few of MY comments that have never made it to the site, mate, probably just as well.

            • Rocks
            • Rox G on 24 April 2018 at 20:15

            Thank you so much, Mark. It’s very interesting to hear that. One never knows what percentage get through, and how many fall by the wayside.
            “For many are called but few are chosen”. Matthew 22: 13-15.
            As far as we know.

            Actually, he/they had had a bit of a think, and in the end my comment was published, being the one that starts “The question is whether picketing women “, but it is not true.

            • BigMarktheGeezer
            • Mark J on 25 April 2018 at 10:34

            you’re welcome Rox 🙂 As I say, its probably quite a good idea that my deleted comments don’t make it to the website.

  5. The Council’s attempt to stop peaceful protest is an admission, surely, that they know that they have no good argument or evidence against the protest; and that is all the more reason to allow the protest! They should also be using imperial and not the Code Napoleon.

  6. The question is whether picketing women going into the clinic in good faith can be seen only as as a “positive” action, or alternatively as a negative action. From the point of view of the women, it is a negative action, and so would be showing them similar pictures in the guise of “information”. A photograph of any operation can be distressing, especially to somebody who is about to have the operation. People who eat meat don’t like to see pictures of slaughterhouses, either. It isn’ t a baby, it’s a foetus. The lamb you eat really is lamb, though, or in fact sheep who are a bit older than that.

    1. This is so not true. We have so many testimonies of women thankful someone alerted them to the enormity of what they were about to do. There are people alive today thanks to a clinic pavement counsellor. This is not an ‘operation’ like the removal of a tumour. We are talking about taking money to kill a sentient human being. And don’t give us a load of Latin. No woman is told to stop smoking in pregnancy ‘for foetus’. See my video ‘Foetus leaps in womb shock’. I’ll give you one thing though, the slaughterhouse analogy is a bit close to home.

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