Press release – Mothers file high court challenge to censorship zone which criminalises prayer and support outside Ealing abortion clinic
Alina Dulgheriu, a mother who was supported by a pro-life vigil outside a London abortion clinic, will be filing a high court challenge to the Ealing censorship zone which criminalises prayer and support outside an abortion clinic.
Ealing Council have confirmed that the Public Space Protection Order will be coming into effect at 9am this morning (Monday 23 April). Alina will be filing her case with the high court as soon as possible after the PSPO has been instigated. This will ensure that the vital support options that pro-life vigils provide to women outside Ealing clinic are available again as soon as practically possible.
Pro-life vigil members are taking legal action as a result of a PSPO that would criminalise any outreach to pregnant women who wish to keep their children but otherwise would have no option to do so. Therefore unless there is a successful legal challenge, no charitable outreach to women on Mattock lane will be possible.
The Ealing PSPO criminalises:
- Any act whatsoever of approval or disapproval regarding abortion
- 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
The Ealing PSPO violates the human rights of residents and visitors as it prevents the free assembly of citizens, freedom of speech, prayer and the reception of information. Ealing Council has a duty to respect such rights when making an order. Any order made must be proportionate and reasonable.
Alina is one of many hundreds of women to accept help by pro-life vigils in recent years. Alina was abandoned by her family and friends with a pregnancy that would have left her homeless and jobless. On the day of her appointment Alina met vigil members who went on to assist her with everything from food, clothes and accommodation to emotional and spiritual support.
Alina, who was supported outside an abortion centre, and is bringing forward the legal challenge said:
“My little girl is here today because of the real practical and emotional support that I was given by a group outside the outside a Marie Stopes clinic. I am launching my legal challenge at the high court to ensure that all women at Ealing and across the country do not have a vital support option removed. In doing this I represent the thousands of women who have been helped by these vigils.”
“It seems clear to me that Ealing Council has had a predetermined outcome in mind since last summer and despite the facts, has insisted on making this draconian order. Ealing Council could have taken action in a way that would have protected women and safeguarded the essential, life saving help offered at the gate. Instead they have criminalised charity, and attempted to remove us from public space without justification.”
“What sort of a society criminalises charity that is wanted and welcomed by many? Britain has a reputation for being a liberal, caring society, but what is liberal or caring about censoring free speech, banning charity and ignoring women who need help?”
Jacelyn, who was supported outside an abortion centre, said:
“I am 100% behind Alina’s legal challenge. My daughter means the world to me. It is really upsetting that Ealing council will today actively ban the offering of support like I received outside the abortion clinic. If censorship zones are brought in, many women who are in similar situations to me will be forced into going ahead with abortions they don’t want. ”
‘Sarah’, who was supported outside an abortion centre, said:
“Ealing Council says the reason for criminalising this charitable work is for the quality of life of people. But how can I put a value on the quality of life given to me by being able to keep a child I wanted? How can the council say other quality of life factors are more important or significant than that?”
Elizabeth Howard, who supports mothers outside the Ealing abortion centre said:
“I support these mothers 100%. It is shocking that Ealing politicians, and the activists who are pressuring them, have totally ignored their viewpoints. I look forward to an independent judicial review of the situation.”
Clare Mulvany, who supports mothers outside abortion centres said:
“As an Ealing resident I feel desperately let down by my council. Instead of taking an option that would have protected all women and represented all women caught up in this issue, they have excluded and punished the most vulnerable stakeholders, the mothers that want and need help. The council has chosen to enforce an order that has to be challenged in court, thereby wasting taxpayers money and damaging our trust in our representatives.”
- To find out more about the Be Here For Me campaign visit www.behereforme.org
- High-res photos of Alina which can be used for press articles are available here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskzRQ5pu
- The Be Here For Me campaign launch video is available here (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVQ1LKpPkJzEyK5xEZ-5iRQ/) 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
- To arrange a media interview with one of the campaign’s spokespeople, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 074 2701 8218.