Our Lady of the Wayside

Our Lady of the Wayside
Protect Expectant Mothers and Their Babies


Sunday 5 March 2023

Day 12 Patricia's Experience of the Ealing Vigil Before the Buffer Zone: Celebrating 40 Days of Mums Choosing Life


I have personal and direct experience of meeting the pro-life people from the Good Counsel outside the Marie Stopes Clinic on Mattock Lane, Ealing one October when I attended the Clinic for a proposed abortion and absolutely refute the Council’s allegations that there is any harassment, name calling or signs of intimidation as women either enter or leave the clinic. On arriving just one man was standing outside the clinic boundary offering leaflets in a peaceful manner while two or three other people were sitting some distance away on a grassy area keeping vigil. There may have been a poster or placard that was designed to make those in two minds about their decision for abortion rethink but in no way was it accusing or condemning. 

 As it happened on arriving at the clinic & almost getting as far as the operating theatre I was unable to go through with having an abortion as I was just too confused and torn between wanting to keep the baby and practical circumstances making it seem overwhelmingly hard.  On leaving the clinic it was actually a great source of comfort to me to speak to the pro life man outside who outlined the type of help the Good Counsel could provide me,  that I wasn’t alone and how many other women that had benefitted from them. He was a mild mannered & softly spoken man and we stood and spoke for at least 40 mins in which time I was able to observe him approaching people while offering a leaflet. Most (but not all) of the women declined the leaflet and none of them had it thrust upon them or were subject to any form of intimating behaviour from him whatsoever. There was no invasion/ obstruction of the women’s personal space either & they were allowed to pass freely. 

Since then I have gone on to seek help from the Good Counsel who have been incredibly generous offering financial assistance enabling me to enlist extra support through the latter stages of a difficult pregnancy.  They have also given me access to a lot of baby clothes and accessories that have been an enormous help as our budget is very tight and I know provide support to others in a myriad of different ways eg. help with benefits, housing, work opportunities.  All my dealings with the organisation have been with people who have been very empathic and non-judgemental, just trying to help me get an all rounded perspective and also providing hope and positivity. My understanding of the Good Counsel is that they are there to help women who may not choose abortion otherwise but who feel they have no other option due to circumstances.  Even though most of their members I think are Catholic there was absolutely no attempt to impart any religious belief onto me and their help is open to people of all cultures and faiths.

I feel that by enforcing Buffer Zones around Clinics many women who might have been helped to see there was any alternative to abortion will be denied this route. If others, like me, are in great conflict and see no other way out but abortion, then the Good Counsel can provide an invaluable lifeline and should be allowed to carry on with their good work in the peaceful manner they have been doing all along.  

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