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London Assembly approves anti-life motion

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The London Assembly has approved a motion calling for the ban of pro-life pavement counselling and prayer groups from outside abortion clinics. Labour Party Assembly Members Fiona Twycross and Dr Onkar Sahota called on the Mayor to look at existing powers to bar pro-life groups from approaching expectant mothers outside abortion centres. The motion was carried by twelve votes to three. The lack of a unanimous vote frustrated Twycross, not least because each of the three delivered excellent, inspiring, and emotive speeches in defence of pro-life groups’ right to free speech.

 

Twycross spoke of a “rise in intimidation outside abortion clinics” and spoke of pro-life counselling efforts as “organised harassment targeted at a marginalised group.” Seconding the motion, Onkar Sahota condemned pro-life groups’ information and offer of alternative choices to abortion saying ‘information is not to be given to them as they walk into the clinic.” Caroline Russell spoke on behalf of the Green Party in support of the motion calling pro-life counselling attempts ‘an unwarranted intrusion.” Despite the loaded language of pro-abortion advocates, three men boldly and bravely stood to speak the truth and expose the lies of those calling for buffer-zones.


Motion ‘straight out of 1984’

UKIP Assembly Member David Kurten – a dedicated Christian – strongly opposed Twycross’ motion. Kurten said the motion

“…so misrepresents the truth of what is happening outside the abortion clinics that it could be straight out of 1984.”

Kurten highlighted the work of the Good Counsel Network and their 23-year-long work outside an Ealing abortion clinic without any substantive charge of harassment.

In the past week, Kurten met mothers helped by Good Counsel Network and many children who would not be alive today were it not for Good Counsel’s aid. The only Assembly Member to put forth such an effort, Kurten challenged the charged rhetoric being used against Good Counsel Network and other pro-life groups saying: “It takes good people and makes them bad people.”

Summing up his opposition Kurten said:

“If we vote for this motion we are going to take away perhaps the last choice, the last hope that these mothers have not to have an abortion.”


Motion “fundamentally wrong”

Conservative Assembly Member Andrew Boff gave a stirring speech against the motion. Boff made the foundation of his case quite clear:

“Each fertilised embryo is a unique human being at an early stage in development on its journey towards becoming an adult. It is not a vestigial lump of flesh. It is an individual. It has a unique human DNA…each human has rights irrespective of the stage of development that they are at.”

Acknowledging complex, crisis situations and the difficulties presented, Boff nonetheless, reiterated:

“It is surely right that mothers be fully aware of the options available to them. You cannot make an informed choice unless you are aware of the options.”

Of Good Counsel Network and other pro-life groups that gather outside abortion clinics Boff insisted that these:  

“are giving the mothers more choices and in fact they are giving choices to people who are yet to see the light of day.”

In conclusion Boff dismissed the notion of intimidating hate speech used by pro-life groups and the notion that it is unacceptable for expectant mothers entering clinics to be called ‘mum’. Boff said:

“There is no hate speech there. Just love speech. And for that we want to ban them! Chair, I want no part in removing options that could lead to a human life being saved. I’m afraid I will not vote to ban love.”

Boff was joined in opposing the motion by his Conservative Party colleague, Steve O’Connell. O’Connell slammed the motion as ‘illiberal’. O’Connell said Twycross’ motion was an:

“attempt to ban protest partly because we disagree with the ethos of those protesters and that is fundamentally wrong”.


Opposition to the motion was a breath of fresh air

Twycross expressed disappointment that others in the Assembly disagreed with her motion. Twycross claimed “It’s not about stopping protest. It’s about stopping inappropriate protest” a statement that was itself, self-contradictory.

While it was disappointing that the motion carried, the crystal-clear statements of the three dissenters, Kurten, Boff, and O’Connell came as a breath of fresh air. In days when those who believe rightly often remain silent, these three men set an example for others to emulate.

Please continue to pray for the ongoing protection of pro-life witness in the UK.


Links:

David Kurten AM Defends Pro-Life Vigils in London Assembly:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dRoZ2Hz00s

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