K.V. Turley is the Register’s U.K. correspondent. He writes from London.
Today, May 1, 2018, a London coroner has criticized repeated failures at a high-profile abortion facility following the death of a woman hours after having an abortion.
Only last week, the same abortion facility in Ealing, London, became the first U.K. Local Authority to enforce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for the area around an abortuary. This was in order, it said, “to protect women from distress and intimidation.”
Ealing council unanimously approved the PSPO earlier this month. Local government officials having been convinced by abortion providers and their supporters that such safe zones are necessary. The picture painted was of “groups” approaching women as they entered the facility and then either showing them explicit pictures of abortions or calling them names. There have been vague references to “American influence” being a factor in the increasing size, frequency and persistence of this intimidation and protest. Some voices said the very act of peaceful protest outside an abortion facility was an act of intimidation.
Following the passing of this first PSPO, other English councils, with encouragement from various abortion providers and advocates, are considering following Ealing’s lead.
The prayer vigil outside the Ealing abortuary is not new, nor has it increased in size. In fact, there has not been an arrest or a prosecution for any offence over the 23 years it has existed.
The vigil largely consists of prayer on the pavement across the road from the facility. A small group, sometimes just a few people, say the Rosary. Those at the vigil offer the women on their way to the abortuary a leaflet that they are free to accept or reject. The leaflet outlines the help available for women forced into an unwanted abortion on account of financial or other pressures.
There are images of unborn babies outside the facility. These are standard medical illustrations of the kind seen after a scan or on a pregnancy app.
During Lent 2013, a 40 Days for Life campaign was organized at Ealing. During that time, 23 women changed their minds about having an abortion.
For the women who decide not to go through with an abortion, there is an offer of help: organizations such as the Good Counsel Network will help feed and shelter the women and their babies as well as supporting them in other ways.
Charities such as the Good Counsel Network are run on charitable donation with the aid of volunteers. It receives no public money.
Some other facts
Marie Stopes International (MSI) operates the Ealing abortuary.
In 2011, a doctor was struck off the U.K.’s General Medical Register after having performing a botched abortion in Ealing. As well as a perforated uterus, the doctor had left parts of the fetus inside a woman. Subsequently, she was hospitalized in critical condition for two months.
It was in 2012 that a woman died in a taxi after having an abortion at the facility in Ealing — this was the case recently before the London Coroner’s Court. Subsequent to the death, a doctor and two nurses attached to the Ealing facility were charged and then later acquitted of manslaughter.
Marie Stopes International operation at Ealing is one of the busiest in the United Kingdom. In 2016, 6,484 abortions took place there, 110 after 20 weeks gestation.
Some more facts
Marie Stopes was an ardent eugenicist who sent love poems to Adolf Hitler.
Today the organization she founded, Marie Stopes International, is present in 37 countries and performs 3 million abortions a year.
In 2016, after inspecting a number of MSI premises, the U.K.’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) was so concerned by what it found that between Aug. 19 and Oct. 7, 2016, the following restrictions were imposed:
- Suspensions of all termination of pregnancies for under-18s and vulnerable groups of women
- Suspensions of all surgical terminations under general anaesthetic or conscious sedation
- Suspensions of all surgical terminations at its Norwich centre.
The report added, “CQC issued four warning notices to Marie Stopes International, in response to regulatory breaches around 'consent', 'safeguarding', 'care and treatment' and 'governance', as well as a number of 'requirement notices', to support improvement.”
A 2017 UK government report found evidence of nearly 400 botched abortions at MSI facilities over a two-month period.
In March 2017, an undercover reporter for The Daily Mail found doctors at MSI facilities approving thousands of abortions without meeting women and with some consultation discussions lasting just 22 seconds.
In October 2017, another Care Quality Commission report revealed that MSI staff felt 'encouraged' to ensure women went through with abortions because it was 'linked to their performance bonus.' Inspectors found evidence of a policy – in place across all 70 UK MSI facilities – whereby staff were told to call women who had decided not to have an abortion and offer them a new appointment.
According to the U.K.’s Charity Commission, in the financial year ending in 2016, the income for Marie Stopes International was £290 million/ $400 million.
Life and death
The day the buffer-zone PSPO came into force at Ealing was also St. George’s Day, the national feast day of England.
It was also the day on which that country welcomed with great rejoicing and media excitement the news of a baby boy born to the Royal Family.
Ironic indeed that on the day a nation celebrated a birth, legal measures came into force designed to ensure that some in this land as yet unborn shall never see life.