Our Lady of the Wayside

Our Lady of the Wayside
Protect Expectant Mothers and Their Babies

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Thursday, 22 August 2019

Ban On Silent Prayer, Upheld By The Court Of Appeal

The Good Counsel Network is deeply concerned for the many women who are coerced into abortions by partners, family or by circumstances. Over the last 7 years we have had the opportunity outside Marie Stopes to assist over 500 women to keep their babies through offering financial help, housing, practical help, baby goods, childcare and moral support. Ealing Council's PSPO prevents many women from accessing this help.

We are deeply saddened that the Appeal Court Judges have not taken into account the testimonies of these women and that they have ruled that even silent prayer and an offer of help should be banned outside the abortion centre. We understand that Alina will challenge this ruling further.

Hear from some of the mothers that the Pro-Life vigils have helped over the years, https://www.goodcounselnet.co.uk

Then join us in prayer, at a Vigil or on our Monthly Days of Prayer and Fasting for Life

Thursday, 4 April 2019

The Guardian Attacks Peaceful Prayer Vigils But Don't Want to Speak to Mothers Helped.

With Richmond's Buffer Zone coming into effect on 1st April, we have enough to think about. However, it is 40 Days season and the usual bloodhounds come sniffing to the door looking to make up any kind of a story out of any dead twigs they can root up.
I got this email from Guardian journalist Simon Murphy yesterday. I have not replied since his "story" was already written, and he declined my offer to speak to any of the Mothers helped by our vigils. You can hear from the Mothers we have helped here .The Guardian have a poor record themselves in showing consideration for Mothers entering abortion centres, see our post here .
The leaflet below which is not a Good Counsel Leaflet, but which is given out around the country by different groups is the main source of Mr Murphy's discontent. Claiming that including a quote from a woman who found her abortion more difficult to deal with than rape is offensive or is a "tactic". Perhaps he is suggesting this woman should not feel that way, or maybe only that she should not be allowed to share how her experience affected her? I thought it was all about trusting women? But only the right women it seems!
Then the journalist's email below the leaflet gives you a bit of insight into the mindset of these journalists. I will let you be the judge of his article!







Sent: 03 April 2019 16:02
To: Good Counsel Network
Subject: Guardian story -- request for comment
Dear Clare,
As discussed, we intend to publish a story in the Guardian about how anti-abortion protesters have been accused of harassing vulnerable women visiting clinics as they ramp up demonstrations during Lent including handing out leaflets suggesting that a termination is harder to deal with than being raped. 

The Guardian has discovered a series of tactics deployed by anti-abortion protesters, some of whom have been participating in the 40 Days for Life campaign,  as they step up demonstrations in ten locations across the UK the run up to Easter by picketing clinics for up to 12 hours a day. 
 
As part of the story we will be detailing how leaflets are being handed out during Lent by activists in Birmingham and Leicester, laden with graphic images of foetuses, which imply that rape is easier to overcome than having a termination – as well as suggesting women who have abortions are more likely to commit suicide. The leaflets provide contact details for a woman called “Isabel” at the Good Counsel Network.
The contact details on the leaflet also match those of an organiser listed on 40 days for life’s Birmingham campaign. The leaflet, entitled, “Do you know?” urges people to: “Text/call Isabel now on 07773501721 and let us know how we can help.”
The same number and name is listed on 40 Days for Life’s Birmingham campaign page. See here: https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/birmingham-2/
The protest in Birmingham, outside a Marie Stopes clinic in Edgbaston, is an official 40 Days For Life demonstration. The Leicester protest, outside a BPAS health clinic, is understood not to be officially affiliated with the campaign.
The leaflet purports to quote women who have had abortions with one apparently saying: “For me, the abortion was harder to get over than the rape,” one women apparently says. Another adds: “No one ever told me I would live with this decision for the rest of my life. It’s been several years but my grief continues.”
Another woman says her doctor did not warn her about the “possible profuse bleeding and infection that lasted for weeks” or “the possibility of the hysterectomy I had 8 months later”.
The quotes appear alongside a picture of a 10-week old foetus being held in a hand. The leaflet refers people to the Good Counsel Network, a Catholic group which pays activists to picket outside clinics.
The pamphlet also suggests women who have abortions are more likely to commit suicide. It states: “Pregnancy is a protective factor against suicide. One study found that women who had abortions have six times higher rates of suicide than women who continue their pregnancies.”
The group uses a 28-year-old entry in the British Medical Journal and a 14-year-old Finnish study from the European Journal of Public Health to reference its claims.
However, a House of Commons report produced by the Science and Technology committee in 2007 described the Finnish study as “inappropriate”. It states: “Even though this study and others like it are controlled for demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, health status and medical disorders, the comparison groups are inappropriate for answering a question about the casual link between abortion and all-cause morbidity.”
Questions:
Does the Good Counsel Network endorse the messages included in the leaflet, including the suggestion that overcoming a termination is harder to deal with than being raped?
Did the Good Counsel Network help produce this leaflet?
I would be grateful if you could confirm receipt of this email and provide a response by 3pm tomorrow.
Many thanks,
Simon

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

7 Mother's Testimony Rejected by Richmond Council: Council claims they cannot identify any negative impact PSPO will have for pregnant women.


1 Counsellor offers a leaflet as women enter. They are free to take it or ignore it.
These are the 7 testimonies given in person (or by phone in 2 cases) to a Richmond Council Officer from Mothers who support the presence of Pro-life Vigils outside BPAS in Twickenham. Councillors said they would consider these testimonies, yet in their "impact assessment" the Council said that a PSPO would have no negative impact that they could identify on pregnant women and that it would have a positive effect on pregnant women because it "will safeguard and facilitate the ability for pregnant women access (sic) to the Clinics heath services related to pregnancy and maternity."
Just what "health services related to pregnancy and maternity" are in an abortion centre we all know well.
The testimonies were taken down by a council officer, from women who, largely, are speaking English as a second language. Some of these women corrected and edited the transcripts - others did not get time to do so, so some are in note format, others are in first person testimony. But they are well worth a read. These ladies had great courage to go to the Council in the first place, knowing that previously other Councils had sidelined Mother's voices. For the Council to claim that these women being coerced to have abortions against their wishes, if the vigil had not been there to help them, is not a negative impact is almost beyond belief. Please take the time to read them. Please support us with prayers and donations, so that we can continue to help Mothers like these ones.

Remember that BPAS Twickenham performed 7,325 abortions in 2015 and performed 6,043 abortions 2016. That's a drop of 17.5% Then they performed 5,877 in 2017, which is yet another drop. For the abortion centres this is about money.



Mother 1, from the Punjab
Outside the clinic, I was handed a leaflet. When I found out I was pregnant, financially my position was not that good. I booked an appointment for my abortion. When I went there, I found Good Counsel outside. At first I couldn’t believe the help, I never thought somebody would help you like this, would support you. It’s like somebody is saying it, but are they going to do it or not? That was the first question that came in my mind. So then I talked to the lady who was outside there, she just hugged me and she assured me that “We will support you with whatever you need.” So she told me that if I would like, I could come and talk more about my pregnancy and what are the difficulties I am facing. If I want to have the baby, what best can they do for the baby. So I went with them to the Good Counsel office and there we had a long chat. So then I decided not to terminate.
I feel, the abortion was quite a big burden for me, the whole night before it I couldn’t sleep because I was doing something which I didn’t want, but when I spoke to Good Counsel, I felt really good, I feel very light. It was great talking to them and after that I spoke to a few mums who Good Counsel had helped. I couldn’t believe what they were saying, I spoke to a few mums, I called them. They called me as well. They said “We are getting support for so many years.” So then I believed “Yes, they are there for me.” I have been supported for [some] years. The first thing that came to mind, because we were living in just a single room, my daughter was with me, I came here on a student visa, my visa conditions didn’t allow me to work, so I couldn’t afford two rooms for the family. My landlord told me “Too many people can’t live in one room, so you have to move out”. So GCN provided me with a two bedroom house. They were paying all the rent and everything, and even they were paying for all the groceries as well and diapers and, you know, baby cots. My child got everything. I couldn’t even believe…I couldn’t afford those things and he got all the things from there. From birth to now. Whenever he needs like winter coat or anything. And I just want to add one more thing, because of my little one, my elder daughter is having a better life as well. Whenever I need something for her she gets it from them as well. No, even if I need something or my daughter, whoever in the family. My pregnancy would be terminated definitely if I had not met Good Counsel. When I booked my appointment I didn’t want to terminate the pregnancy, but I kept on looking everywhere for the help, but I couldn’t find any help. I even found Good Counsel Network on the website, but I shut it down because I couldn’t believe it. And then again when I was entering the gate, they handed me the leaflet. Because of that leaflet, when I went inside, I was thinking about that while waiting for my scan, they could not do the abortion that day so when I went out, I spoke to the lady from GCN who was on the door and she told me everything, so I did not go back again. So the leaflet – I think it is the most important thing, it saved a life. I couldn’t believe the website. I don’t understand why people feel offended because if GCN is standing by the gate they are just providing more choices for people like us. They are not harming anyone and there is nothing wrong in it.
Mother 2, from Gujarat
Had become pregnant and as a result her husband left, she had no visa to stay in UK. She went to the clinic and was given a leaflet outside. ‘In heart not ready, in mind ready.’ She was 20 weeks pregnant with a complicated pregnancy.
She had received rent and groceries for years from the GCN. ‘All provided’ along with advice and support and she could ‘phone Clare for help’ and had received help and advice and legal advice. She was not mentally well, she had depression had had received support, including someone to be with her at the hospital and someone to help her when she was unwell or when her children were. She didn’t have access to the Internet, so the leaflet was the only way. Which she felt was important for people whose first language is not English. She found that BPAS don’t speak 2 words to her in the clinic about alternatives to abortion. They just filled a form and do a blood test then procedure starts. Mother 3, from Goa
She has 2 children aged 10 and 4 years. When she became pregnant she thought of having a termination because of financial pressures. Her family lived in rented accommodation. She didn’t want an abortion because she ‘Know what sin is’ but felt like she didn’t have an option. It is a private matter if she wanted to speak to GCN outside BPAS but people were driving Good Counsel away from her. People passing by told her to avoid [the GCN] and were angry on her behalf. They told her these people were paid by Americans. She had been given a leaflet outside the Clinic When she went inside the BPAS clinic a woman ‘grabbed the [GCN] leaflet.’ From her. She booked an appointment for a check-up (abortion consultation). 8th December was her first appointment. She ‘didn’t want to’ have an abortion, she felt she was ‘suffocating inside.’ Her husband didn’t want to have the baby at that time. But later he accepted the pregnancy. She spoke to Clare on the phone and ‘stopped going for appointment’, she ‘know it is a sin’. She was working and cleaning & had to look after the children who go to different schools, ‘walking and walking’ to get then to school. Then cooking. She was very worried about how they would manage, but ‘am happy now’ and ‘looking forward’. Mother 3 had been supported since December 2018.

Actual images used daily opposite BPAS. No aborted babies or accusative messages are ever displayed, yet dozens of complaints to the Council refer to them being present.

Mother 4, from Romania
The first time I found out about this organisation Good Counsel Network was from the leaflets. I was already in the BPAS clinic when I read it so I tried to postpone the abortion. I had already postponed it several times. So my financial situation was very bad and I had no job. I didn’t want the abortion, I wanted to keep the baby but the Clinic was calling me so many times and sending reminders about my appointment. After that I had bleeding for three months. I went back to the clinic, they told me it’s normal – I’m a nurse by the way -I know that that’s not normal. I kept going, they told me if it didn’t stop, to come back again. Then they told me it was not their responsibility. I had a contraceptive implant while I was at the clinic. I told them I had an allergy to the hormones in it, but they said it was completely safe, there were no consequences. Because I told them that just once in my life I had had contraceptive tablets, just once a long time ago, but that my body did not tolerate them. Later on I went back to ask them to remove the implant and they refused. When I asked them why all this had happened to me they said it was just my bad luck. The bleeding was still happening. I went to different clinics, different hospitals, A&E. Meanwhile I was working. I decided to go back to my country at the end of the August 2016 and have the doctor check out my cervix properly, because of the abortion complications. When I came back to the UK, in September 2016, I received a letter for an appointment for a smear test at the surgery. The results were not OK. After that I received another letter for further investigation, a month later, in Kingston Hospital this time. Mainly because of my financial situation and because I was very scared also, I could not attend it. My GP called me again and I had a discussion for about an hour on the phone, trying to convince me to come to the hospital, because she said it is very important to attend and the sooner the better. She put me in touch with a nurse from the hospital, from the colposcopy unit. Finally, I decided to go although I was scared. I had had the abortion on 1st of June 2016. The bleeding had continued until September. The clinic had only offered me Vitamin K. But I said I wanted to know the cause of the bleeding. If I had no medical knowledge at all and if I had believed them that this bleeding was normal, probably I could have had my bleeding stopped with Vitamin K and I would have been resting assured that my health was great which it obviously wasn’t. In January 2017 I had more tests in the hospital and again the results were not OK. There was scarring on my cervix from the abortion, they told me I had CIN 1 on my cervix and they invited me to go further for a colposcopy and biopsy and after that they told me that, actually, I had grade 2 abnormal cells on my cervix ( CIN 2 ) which can lead in few years into cancer, if untreated and I need to have them removed, which I did. The gynaecologist I saw told me the cancer was because of the abortion and the scarring of my cervix as well as the implant which turned my hormonal body balance upside down, and which can cause cancer as a secondary effect. And after a few months, in April 2017, I got pregnant again. I kept the leaflet of the organisation [GCN]. Unfortunately, the father of the baby left, and I was a single mum. I was again in a scary situation, but at least I decided to contact this organisation [GCN] and I got in touch with them at the beginning. And they offered me legal advice whenever I needed it, because I needed to find out my rights as a pregnant woman, and they told me all about it. They offered me support. And I had the baby and everything is fine. And by the way after that I went to hospital again in May 2018, because I was supposed to go again in august 2017 , every 6 months, but because I was pregnant I had to postpone, after the baby was 3 months old I had to go, the results were better , my cervix was improving, because of the pregnancy and in the letter with the results was written that I have to check myself every 3 years now .
Mother 5, (interviewed by telephone)
Became pregnant, GP made appointment at abortion clinic at Richmond. ‘Don’t have support, not asked about support.’ Booked an appointment for surgical abortion. On the day of the abortion [GCN] approached me to ask if there was anything they could do to help. They gave me a leaflet and offered support. I was ‘confused and angry’,’ not sure if want to have [termination], no one to talk to’. ‘I read through the leaflet at home. I didn’t have support’ ‘Landlord asked me to leave. Didn’t have anywhere to go and didn’t want pregnancy.’ Wanted to terminate pregnancy as didn’t have support. ‘I call one lady’ and she offered help and accommodation. [GCN] charity that offer support. March 2017 Decided to go ahead and have the baby with support. Accommodation provided ‘thank god every day’ ‘they provided everything for me from that day to this day’. ‘Groceries, nappies, washing machine, everything’.
Mother 6 (interviewed by telephone)
[GCN] provide genuine offer. 2017 she was ‘destitute and homeless’. When she was trying to find a safe place to stay she was raped. She looked through the internet and could only find abortion providers. Had an appointment at BPAS who ‘don’t offer support offer abortions and no alternatives.
She got a leaflet at the Clinic, when got home she spoke to GCN which offered accommodation and financial support. Baby born 5 months ago. ‘If the pro-life support were moved, then they would never experience the joy of a child’. ‘BPAS offer to talk, but that’s not an offer that really after’. ‘How good the pro-life vigils are especially when women in a desperate situation’. ‘No time is wasted [at BPAS], it is a fast consultation’. ‘I couldn’t stop sobbing, I got through a whole box of tissues’. ‘The support [from the GCN] is unbelievable. I feel happy’ [laughing with happiness and baby gurgling in background].
Mother 7
I found out I was pregnant, I booked an appointment to, terminate, in the clinic. And so I met Good Counsel Network by the gate and we started talking. No one said that I need to, I have to or I should, do anything. It was just an offer and I accepted it. If no one was there, if I just got a leaflet inside - just a leaflet means nothing, especially when you are in this situation, you need something face to face - some information. I believe if the person from the Good Counsel Network weren't there, a person, it wouldn't have made any difference whatsoever, I would not have felt able to keep my baby if I had just been given a leaflet – I needed to meet someone there who I could speak to about the help]. If they did not talk to me, it wouldn't have made any difference to me feeling I had to have an abortion. I heard someone say some people are offended by GCN? We need to think of this in two ways, if there is offence – if you're offending me, you need to be doing something that I don't want you to, and you keep pushing me. But an offer is different. I can offer you something, and you can say 'No, I'm sorry, 'I'm fine'. Then OK, this is an offer, but causing offence is completely different. This is a very emotional time for every woman. If you go to an abortion clinic, you go there because you have no choice. You know, we all have different problems, we all have different reasons, especially if you look at me, I'm like this (pregnant) and I don't have a partner, and not having a partner is not a big problem, but a violent partner, that’s a different thing! So it’s nice that when you feel you have to make a choice that you don't want to make and you don't know where to turn to and get some help. -If someone, was telling me, actually there is help, there is an offer, would you like to take it? When I was ready to go into the clinic and I was crying, this is so important! I think we need to ignore, the fact that sometimes, even when you do good things, some people might get offended for some reason, we can't make everything right for everyone. The important thing, when you put it in balance, which one is important? The unborn child's future, and mother's future, or some people, they might have some experiences, or they can get offended for no reason. I think we need to keep the balance, sometimes I think we just need to, ignore when people get offended, because the important thing is the Mother and her unborn baby's future. It's more important than those people's feelings. I think it is more important. Because I wouldn't be pregnant at the moment if Good Counsel didn't give me the leaflet and if they didn't say “Hi”, because there was no other option in my mind. Without that, keeping the baby wasn't going to happen. So sometimes, just a smiley face, 'Hi, hello!' You know, shaking your hands and showing you that there are good people out there, but they genuinely care about people, and babies. It's important, babies still in the mummy's tummy, you know they have no choice, they didn't choose to be there. And at the same time they don't choose to die as well. Just give unborn babies a life, a chance. Just an offer. No one is pushing anyone, no one is offending anyone, it's just an offer. I think we all need an offer but it is up to you to accept it or reject it. Here some people are just nicely standing by the doors just to give a leaflet, I don’t use rude words, but I think what I am going to say is going to fit perfectly, do people need to kill their babies in order to make other people comfortable? It’s a very big question.
I think after this meeting you have to be very careful...honestly, you cannot receive that kind of support anywhere else. So if the people from GCN can’t stand by the gate, it means you put vulnerable women, mothers, human beings, in danger. Because I have been there by myself. In my experience I have even been to a woman’s refuge and I have been “let go”, left on the road, with no money, with nothing. So these pro-life people need to be standing there outside the abortion clinics. I have never received such support – when you go to some places, -they say - we are here for you, we are here to support you, they always start like that. But everything is just on paper or it’s just what they say. Others say that they will support but you get nothing. But here with GCN it’s not like you get your baby and you are on your own after that – this is very important. They are there from the beginning until you are ready to stand on your own two feet – what is wrong with that? I really believe if I had met them years ago, my life would have been different. Honestly.
What I am doing is I am killing my baby and you are helping me to do that. One hand says “I can help you to kill your baby” but the other hand says “I am giving you a hand for a chance, for your baby and for your life” so we need to compare it. Even when I think about it it breaks my heart and I cannot believe that rather than giving a hand, they are making a complaint, because what they are telling me is I don’t care about the unborn baby, I don’t care about humanity, I don’t care about human beings, I need to be comfortable – in order to do that, I am trying to make you, Good Counsel, stop so you Mothers don’t get help. I don’t care. This is nothing to do with “offensive”, this is not right on a human level, it’s not right. You want me to kill my baby so that you can feel relaxed? – I think this question finishes everything.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Richmond Mother says "If GCN can’t stand by the gate, it means you put vulnerable mothers in danger"


On Wednesday night, Richmond Council's Regulatory Committee voted to recommend to the Council that a PSPO (Buffer Zone) be brought in around Richmond's BPAS abortion centre.
As part of the consultation process BPAS had over 300 testimonies from women saying our presence distressed them in the space of just one month. 323 testimonies in fact.

In fact the BPAS centre is a very busy abortion centre and during the Consultation, there was clearly an effort made to ask clients entering the centre how the vigil (BPAS would say "protest") made women feel. Fair enough.

And how did the women feel? The comments they include in their report are as follows.
"Standing outside and opposite the clinic - handing out flyers and also had more posters beside them. [It made me feel] embarrassed and as if going into a clinic was almost evil - as if we were taking a life." 

"[The protestors were]influencing our decision that we already had a hard time going through. [They made me feel] like we were doing something wrong, angry, every situation is different."

There are many more such testimonies, and I have left out several that accuse us of harassing and following women and telling both clients and staff that they are baby murderers and that they are going to hell. No-one at the vigil does these things, but I can't expect people to believe me in the face of overwhelming testimony to the contrary. So don't believe me. Go to a vigil, unannounced, unexpected. Don't turn up to bait people or to accept my view. Go quietly and see what the vigil does. For yourself. Any time you like.

But to get back to the comments above, I understand that women going through a traumatic moment, like abortion certainly is, would rather not have to see the mildest of placards (see picture above of what the placards at the vigil in Richmond consist of), or even have a person praying outside or offering a leaflet. Even though, as you can see from the two comments I have included behaviours such as offering a leaflet or just being present - which are neither frowned on by law, nor intended to cause any distress at all - can be difficult on such a difficult day. Yes, even though we try to be unoffensive and unobtrusive, we understand many women would rather we were not there.

So why are we there? Because despite the words of several Richmond Councillors tonight, we still see dozens and dozens and dozens of women entering Richmond who have - and are offered - no alternatives to abortion. I have spoken many times about those groups of women who cannot access services like refuges, housing, benefits, safe houses, even social services. And no amount of pretending that BPAS refer these women to such places means that they can get help from them. You can help those mothers.


Devi's mum, Sara, one of 7 who shared their stories with Richmond Council, said Richmond BPAS  didn’t speak 2 words to her in the clinic about alternatives to abortion. "They just filled a form and do a blood test then procedure starts." She chose life instead, because Good Counsel were there 
to offer an alternative when she was entering BPAS.

7 of these very women - excluded from much of this help - gave their testimonies to Richmond Council. Those testimonies were distributed on Wednesday evening to Richmond Regulatory Committee members, at the start of the meeting, it was more than clear that they had no chance at all to read them before the vote.

Here is one of them.

Ilda's Story

I found out I was pregnant, I booked an appointment to, terminate, in the clinic. And so I met Good Counsel Network by the gate and we started talking. No one said that I need to, I have to or I should, do anything. It was just an offer and I accepted it.  I believe if the person from the Good Counsel Network wasn't there, a person, it wouldn't have made any difference whatsoever, I would not have felt able to keep my baby if I had just been given a leaflet – I needed to meet someone there who I could speak to about the help. 

I heard someone say some people are offended by GCN?

We need to think of this in two ways, if there is offence – if you're offending me, you need to be doing something that I don't want you to, and you keep pushing me. But an offer is different. I can offer you something, and you can say 'No, I'm sorry, 'I'm fine'. Then OK, this is an offer, but causing offence is completely different. This is a very emotional time for every woman. If you go to an abortion clinic, you go there because you have no choice. You know, we all have different problems, we all have different reasons, especially if you look at me, I'm like this (pregnant) and I don't have a partner, and not having a partner is not a big problem, but a violent partner, that’s a different thing! So it’s nice that when you feel you have to make a choice that you don't want to make and you don't know where to turn to and get some help. -If someone, was telling me, actually there is help, there is an offer, would you like to take it? When I was ready to go into the clinic and I was crying, this is so important!

I think we need to ignore, the fact that sometimes, even when you do good things, some people might get offended for some reason, we can't make everything right for everyone. The important thing, when you put it in balance, which one is important? The unborn child's future, and mother's future, or some people, they might have some experiences, or they can get offended for no reason. I think we need to keep the balance, sometimes I think we just need to ignore when people get offended, because the important thing is the Mother and her unborn baby's future. It's more important than those people's feelings. I think it is more important.

Because I wouldn't be pregnant at the moment if Good Counsel didn't give me the leaflet and if they didn't say “Hi”, because there was no other option in my mind. Without that, keeping the baby wasn't going to happen. So sometimes, just a smiley face, 'Hi, hello!' You know, shaking your hands and showing you that there are good people out there, but they genuinely care about people, and babies. It's important, babies still in the mummy's tummy, you know they have no choice, they didn't choose to be there. And at the same time they don't choose to die as well. Just give unborn babies a life, a chance. Just an offer. No one is pushing anyone, no one is offending anyone, it's just an offer. I think we all need an offer but it is up to you to accept it or reject it.

Here some people are just nicely standing by the doors just to give a leaflet, I don’t use rude words, but I think what I am going to say is going to fit perfectly, do people need to kill their babies in order to make other people comfortable? It’s a very big question.

I think after this meeting you have to be very careful...honestly, you cannot receive that kind of support anywhere else. So if the people from GCN can’t stand by the gate, it means you put vulnerable women, mothers, human beings, in danger. Because I have been there by myself. In my experience I have even been to a woman’s refuge and I have been “let go”, left on the road, with no money, with nothing. So these pro-life people need to be standing there outside the abortion clinics. I have never received such support – when you go to some places, -they say - we are here for you, we are here to support you, they always start like that. But everything is just on paper or it’s just what they say. Others say that they will support but you get nothing. But here with GCN it’s not like you get your baby and you are on your own after that – this is very important. They are there from the beginning until you are ready to stand on your own two feet – what is wrong with that? I really believe if I had met them years ago, my life would have been different. Honestly.

This is nothing to do with “offensive”, [banning] this is not right on a human level, it’s not right. You want me to kill my baby so that you can feel relaxed? – I think this question finishes everything.

[Short videos with some of the other mums that we have helped can be seen here.]




Thursday, 29 November 2018

Respond to the Richmond Consultation on a Buffer Zone by 9th December - This Brave Mother Did!


Richmond Council is currently consulting on a Buffer Zone around the BPAS abortion Centre in Rosslyn Road, near Twickenham. The Council's Regulatory Committee met in October to decide whether to launch a Buffer Zone consultation. Alina who has challenged Ealing's Buffer Zone in Court (currently awaiting permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal)and Debra, a brave mum who was pregnant as a result of rape, helped by the vigil,  attended and gave their testimonies to the councillors present. Although councillors acknowledged the "emotional" stories that were told, the issues both women raised - of women coerced into abortion who may very well welcome an offer of alternative help and support - were ignored. Richmond Council's consultation ends on 9th December. Please go to http://behereforme.org/richmond-consultation/ to respond to the consultation with guidance to help you. You can read Debra's testimony here:

My name is Debra. I am of South African origin. In 2017 I found myself destitute, stateless and financially worse. I was homeless and ended up being raped through trying to find a safe place to stay. By the time I realised I was pregnant I was over 20 weeks along. I was very confused and was worried that this baby had been conceived in the rape.

I had no home, no money, no support whatsoever. I started wondering how I would manage. I didn’t want to tell those I was staying with, because I knew that would mean the end of my accommodation. So, unsure of what I wanted to do I rang the British Pregnancy Advisory Service where I was booked for an appointment in Richmond.

As I turned onto the street where BPAS is it was very quiet. I noticed three pro-life people opposite the BPAS building, just standing and praying. Across the road outside the building there was one pro-life lady just standing. The lady was standing by the gate as I was approaching, but she wasn’t obstructing the entrance. The pro-life lady already had her hand stretched out with a pink leaflet in her hand. This made it easy for me as I was drawn to it and wanted to see what was in the leaflet but also I didn’t want to engage in any conversation. The lady was very polite and quiet. I just took the leaflet from her hand, since it was clear she was handing them out. There was no talking involved I simply took it and proceeded to BPAS.

At the BPAS centre, once I entered my whole mood changed. I had to focus only on why I was there. As soon as the assessment starts it just straight to business. I was passed from one staff member to another, but none of those people were purely focussed on assessing my reasons and background which had led to me wanting a termination. I spoke to several staff as I had different tests and I would then move on to the next stage until my appointment finished. I just didn’t feel comfortable, as there was no set person to go through my situation and offer me alternatives. When my appointment in the BPAS abortion centre finished, I was offered dates for the abortion.

When I got home I looked at the pro-life leaflet and decided to give The Good Counsel Network a call. I was booked in and I told them my circumstances. They offered me accommodation and financial support, I didn’t believe it at first it was just too good to be true. Amazingly that was the case Good Counsel did provide the help they said they would. Their help meant I could have somewhere safe to live and go through my pregnancy whilst I was sorting my visa issues. I eventually gave birth to a healthy boy. I am so ever grateful to the lady who handed me that leaflet!

If the pro-lifer’s vigil were to be moved away from BPAS it would mean that women in my situation will be left with no alternative to abortion. Women like me will never experience the joy of choosing to have their baby. Women like me will be left with regrets, guilt and only a wish that if only there was an alternative solution they would’ve done things differently. 

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Clare's Speech to Thousands of Pro-Lifers at Parliament Square


“Over 9 Million abortions! What a travesty. What a total assault on children, on their Mothers and on their fathers too. A total assault on our society. How do I begin to speak in the face of 9 million abortions? I cannot even comprehend that number. I  cannot begin to comprehend it.

What are we to do? We stand here today as a tiny witness to this awful assault on life and we look around the broken society we live in. We look to the future and we see the threat of nationwide Buffer Zones, of women being sent home to take their abortion pills alone in their bedrooms crying into their pillows so that society is not troubled by their cry. We see the total decriminalisation of abortion – which really means the total deregulation of abortion, where even the shards of the laws designed to protect Mothers and babies are smashed out of the frame to allow the abortion industry a free reign. We see Nurses and Doctors’ freedom of conscience to refuse to participate in abortion being eroded, just like the children that are screened out by abortion.

I work for a group that has the dubious honour of having the first Buffer Zone imposed on our vigil. And I can tell you that standing away from the abortion centre, knowing that some women are entering because they have no other choice – knowing this not because it suits us to think so, but because hundreds and hundreds of women have told us this in the last 20 years - but being forced to not offer them any alternative at all is a particular form of suffering that our staff and volunteers are having to endure.

And yet through the other vigils we are at and through the work of our Counselling Centre, we see many, many women seeking help to avoid abortions they feel coerced into having.

This isn’t every woman’s story. There are plenty of women who choose abortion themselves. We pray for them. But their story does not negate the story of those with little or no choice.

In Ealing today it is illegal for me to stand within 100 metres of the abortion centre and offer a woman a leaflet even if it only provided a list of help that was available to the woman if she kept the baby and nothing else.

There on Mattock Lane, outside Marie Stopes, where a woman bled to death in a taxi after being sent away with a bleeding torn womb, we cannot even say a prayer.

I have spoken repeatedly about those who are not entitled to state benefits or housing – large numbers of these women are brought to the abortion centre by circumstances beyond their control and the abortion centre has nothing to offer them but abortion. We are there for them, with housing and financial help and moral and practical support. But there are others too, large numbers of women having abortions for someone else – usually a partner who is not ready, or who is not interested, sometimes mum and dad who just won’t understand. There are women having an abortion today because their contraception let them down and it just seems the worst of times to have a child.
For these women, love and support, real help that allows them to continue with their plans and yet not have to have an abortion, is a totally pro-choice – in the truest sense of the word – offer.

And yet this is now seen as the most offensive thing we can do.

Abortion advocates claim that abortion has few, minor health risks, but the same people claim that being approached politely and offered a leaflet or even just knowing that someone is praying for you outside an abortion centre can cause you post-traumatic stress disorder.

Several years ago we were contacted by a young woman who had been raped. She came to us really conflicted about what to do and she was in so much pressure to have an abortion. So many women we have seen who have been raped have been told by those around them to have an abortion and told, ‘if you keep this baby, I don’t believe you were raped’, and even the police have told them on a number of occasions "If you keep this baby were not going to prosecute the rapist" That’s actual testimony from many women we have seen. This young woman was really, really confused. She had a husband back home in her own country. She wasn’t sure that he would accept this child. She just felt she just couldn’t possibly go ahead. She had a couple of daughters and she always wanted a little boy and she wanted to call him Martin. She had never had her little boy and  now she was in this situation. With lots of support and prayer and real help and a place to hide and all kinds of support to give her different options as to what to do when the baby was born she decided to go ahead with her decision to continue the pregnancy. When the baby was born she decided to she was going to give him up for adoption. Her little boy was born on the Feast of Saint Martin and she called him Martin. She struggled for a few weeks about what to do and finally she went to an adoption agency signed all the papers to hand Martin over for adoption, and went home. Except she didn’t go home, the adoption agency had closed and she sat on the steps of the adoption agency until the morning when she could take back the papers and take back her son. With God's Grace her husband had accepted what had happened and accepted her decision to keep her baby and she returned home and brought her baby back to her family. This is what can happen when a woman has love, unconditional support, a place to hide, practical help, all the support you would give to your sister, you know like sister supporters do if you could. That is exactly what we are all called to do. It’s not just something for Good Counsel or 40 Days or any of the groups who pray and witness for Life. You know it’s something all of us are called to do to offer that love and support to those in need.

In 20 years, I have not yet met a woman who had from her early childhood wanted or planned an abortion. No-one wants to have to have an abortion. When women speak of wanting to have an abortion they are of course really meaning that they desperately DON’T want to have the baby. If they could be suddenly “unpregnant”, this would seem to be the solution. Unfortunately, the only way to make a pregnant woman “unpregnant” is to deliver her baby, dead or alive. Either one of those choices is going to have consequences for the woman.

If you understand what science clearly shows – that a little unborn human at 3 weeks of pregnancy has a beating heart. That at 7 weeks, brainwaves can be clearly picked up showing what we would call thought. That by 7 weeks, the enlarged ultrasound scan can show a tiny baby clearly moving in the womb. By 8 weeks, the baby has the foundations of all its organs laid down and by 12 weeks the baby has every organ developed and growing. Once you know that, you know that ending the pregnancy means ending a human life. Of course, what ending a pregnancy by abortion does is to make a woman the Mother of a dead baby.

If we believe this, we have to have a different approach to the topic of abortion than those who don’t know or are in denial about the humanity of their children. I once wanted to work to campaign for a change in the law on abortion. Somehow I ended up in the side of the pro-life movement which cares for and supports Mothers instead. But I begin to see that in many ways caring for Mothers who are considering abortion and giving them real alternatives does change minds and hearts. It is a very important part of changing the culture.

We need to show our commitment to this work. If we know what abortion really does, it is our job to witness this to our society in a loving way. We must put our hands in our pockets, our time on offer, our resources at the disposal of those offering help to women in unplanned pregnancies and then we can honestly say to women, “We think you are better than this. You deserve better than this. And your baby also deserves better than this.”

Today we are opposed by groups of people that seem to have a total hatred for us and what we are doing.  Why is that hatred there? Here we are in a country on the brink of legalising abortion for all or any reasons – at each and every stage in pregnancy. Why do these groups even care what we do? Why, when we have approaching 200,000 abortions each year do they care about our little March and our movement? Ask yourself that question and think about it long and hard.

They care because they sense something that we don’t even imagine. That there can come a time when abortion will be exposed for the attack on women that it really is, when no amount of marching or blocking the way will hide the reality of the poverty that abortion is. They sense that a time is coming when abortion won’t be seen as a choice, but will be recognised for what it really is – the wholesale killing of children and wounding of their Mothers.

When they stack the decks against us in debates, when they cover our posters, when they lie about the work we do, when they accuse us of harassment, when they shake their heads and say “Shame on you”, rejoice, because whether they are acting in good faith or bad, they can feel that something is changing.

It makes no sense for them to come out to protest our presence here. Here we stand – with the media not on our side, with our Parliament largely not on our side, with our laws totally not on our side. It makes no sense to protest us unless they fear that the abortion tide is already turning.

And I think they are right.

Don’t expect an overnight change, and don’t expect that there will be no setbacks, but with prayer and commitment and more prayer, we are beginning to change the culture. The persecution of those who try involved in this work will probably get hotter.

But do take note that abortions are dropping. That the number of women having abortions in England and Wales has dropped. That the number of women having abortions in London has dropped – while the population of London has risen by about a million in the same time abortions have dropped from 51,000 abortions per year in 2006 to 42,000 abortions in 2016. (9,000 drop)

Eleven years ago, in 2007, there were over 205,000 abortions in England and Wales. In 2016, there were just over 190,000 abortions which is a drop of over 15,000.

The number of women coming to the England from Ireland has also dropped from 6337 in 2006 to 3989 in 2016, a drop of 2,348.

We have also seen that where there is a regular peaceful, prayerful vigil offering help and covering large numbers of the hours that the centre is open, abortions drop there.

I have been told time and time again – even by Members of Parliament - that this is not true, that we scare women away with our tiny peaceful vigil, and that they go elsewhere to have their abortions. But it is in fact true. The number of abortions at the Ealing and Twickenham abortion centres has dropped by 13.5% and 17% respectively in the last years we have figures for.

And no, these women did not all just go elsewhere. I know because large numbers of them have come to us for a chat or a buggy or some vouchers or a bit of advice. And they have come back to show us their babies! Praise God!

This is happening. People are slowly moving away from abortion.

What must we do?

The first thing is to give your time, and if you are a believer your prayers. We need to have people involved in this peaceful witness to our society that this is wrong and that there are much better ways to help women. We really need large numbers of committed people to be out in all weathers praying and offering support to women while we still legally can! There is little use complaining about buffer zones if we don’t go and help at vigils anyway.

Commit to fighting these changes in the law. The new home secretary Sajid Javid needs letters from everyone here asking him not to bring in National Buffer Zones. And we need to be ready to oppose the decriminalisation of abortion to our own MPs.

In closing, it is great to see you all here today, witnessing to the fact that EVERY LIFE DESERVES LOVE. The Buffer Zones are a frighteningly totalitarian response to a peaceful witness. I regret bitterly each woman who misses the offer of help outside an abortion centre because of the Buffer Zone. But the even greater danger to the future of mums and babies, as well as to the elderly and disabled and to all those who are vulnerable is pro-life apathy. That is the Buffer Zone we have to fight hardest and for the sake of the unborn, the most important one to win.”

You can watch a video of Clare’s speech here

[Photos, Bishop Alan Hopes, formerly of Westminster leading the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants monthly prayer vigil at the abortion centre in Twickenham, where The Good Counsel Network now have a daily vigil. Clare speaking in Parliament Square]

Friday, 10 August 2018

Another Courageous Mother Speaks Up In Support Of Pro-Life Vigils Outside Abortion Centres



“When I found out that I was pregnant, I was worried about having a baby because first of all I was here, in a foreign country and I just came here as a student and the father of the baby was not here. When I found out I was pregnant it was very scary.
When I went to the abortion centre, I was so confused and crying and then I said to myself, I need to think about this some more.

So when I went there I saw that on the other side of the street, there was a woman praying. The lady walked towards me and she said "Are you going for the abortion? I can help you if you don’t want to do it?". Then I said "What? You can help me?"  and then it just took me a second to say, "Ok I will go with you".
That lady was Alina – who you just heard speak [See below].  She was offered help and kept her baby and years later she came there to Marie Stopes to be there for me and my baby, and for other women like me.
That day she took me to the Good Counsel Network’s Centre' and when they told me about the help they could offer me I knew I wanted to keep my baby. And they did give me that help.
The day I was having my baby as well my Counsellor from Good Counsel Network, Iulia, came to the hospital with me. She was with me because I had a caesarean and she was with me in the operating theatre. She held my baby for the first time and I was so grateful for all the help. I’m so grateful first of all for them, if not for them it would have been very difficult for me. It’s so expensive to have a baby, a buggy is expensive and everything but when I needed these things Good Counsel have been there for me.
My daughter was born with congenital rubella infection. It has been quite a difficult journey with my baby, because after she was born I found out that she was blind deaf and she had so many problems. She had to stay in the hospital for 7 months before she came home. and she has many disabilities, but despite all I am so, so in love with my baby – I love her very much. She is everything to me. She holds my heart, she is the best thing that has happened to me. She is very charming and very lovely and I am so grateful that she is here.”                                                Aurelia
[You can see a video of Aurelia's speech here]

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