Alina Dulgheriu has applied to appeal London’s first censorship zone to the Supreme Court. Criminalises, speech, assembly, charitable support, prayer

 In Be Here For Me

Alina Dulgheriu has applied to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal an Ealing Council PSPO (Public Space Protection Order) that prevents women from receiving the charitable assistance outside abortion facilities. 

This appeal to the Supreme Court follows a Court of Appeal decision (August 2019) that found Alina’s rights to assembly, religion, thought, expression and reception of information were violated by the Ealing Public Order. Despite this, the Court of Appeal ruled that such violations were justified because of the right of Marie Stopes attendees not to be seen in public space near the facility. 

Following the decision of Ealing Council to introduce a censorship zone around the Marie Stopes facility on Mattock Lane, Alina Dulgheriu, a mother who had been helped by a local vigil, had initially challenged the order at the High Court last July. 

Her cause has been enabled by hundreds of donors who have contributed over £50,000 to her legal fund

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

Prominent human rights campaigners such as Peter Tatchell and Liberty have expressed great concern about the ease with which PSPOs allow councils to override basic civil liberties. 

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“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 do not have this vital support option removed.

I will continue to stand up for the women whose voices have been sidelined throughout this process and for women who need life-saving support today but cannot get it. 

Ealing Council could have taken action in a way that would have protected women and safeguarded the essential help offered at the gate. Instead, they criminalised charity and attempted to remove dedicated and caring individuals from public space without justification.

It is very clear that many are opposed to Ealing’s ban on peaceful and charitable activity, and like me, they want to see support available to vulnerable women where it is most needed. 

I cannot imagine a society where a simple offer of help to a woman who might want to keep her child is seen as a criminal offence. I refuse to accept that women should be denied the opportunity to receive help where they want to keep their child.”

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.

Clare Mulvany, Be Here For Me spokesperson said:

“We are horrified and shocked by this ruling which has set aside the ‘right to choose’ for those women who do not wish to have an abortion and for those who stand ready to help them.

The mothers of Be Here for Me are angry that their own experiences, and the help they have sought to pass on to others in their shoes, have been ignored and denied. 

We share their anger and deep resolve. 

No one can claim to uphold a right to choose whilst supporting the stripping away of all but one choice. 

These women and their powerful stories must be made more visible. 

Alina is resolute.

We understand that she intends to appeal and she has our full support in this”.

Three women have gone public with their stories in a video (https://youtu.be/03xLOhUSr2o) where they tell of the immense pressure they faced to go ahead with a termination; how they were helped by vigils outside an abortion clinic; and why they are calling for the public to oppose censorship zones. Many more women helped by vigils have shared their own personal stories on the www.behereforme.org website. 

ENDS

  • To find out more about the Be Here For Me campaign visit www.behereforme.org 
  • The Be Here For Me campaign launch video is available here (https://youtu.be/03xLOhUSr2o) to use for embedding and is available for re-use in media articles. Please contact us for access to original files.
  • Additional testimonies from women who have been helped outside abortion clinics are available here: https://behereforme.org/#stories
  • For high-quality photographs to accompany this story see https://www.flickr.com/photos/153780803@N08

To arrange a media interview with one of the campaign’s spokespeople, please contact info@behereforme.org or phone 0771 360 9137.

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