Birmingham City Council votes to stamp out prolife freedom of speech

Life Link One, the regional hub of the national prolife charity Life, is shocked by the Birmingham City Council’s assault on prolife freedom of speech as they voted today to explore measures to punish peaceful activities outside the abortion clinic in Edgbaston.

Prolifers have held peaceful vigils and offered help outside the Marie Stopes clinic on Arthur Road, Edgbaston, for more than 20 years. In that time, no arrests have been made for harassment and intimidation. In the past seven years, more than 100 women have accepted their support and continued with their pregnancies.

40 Days for Life, the group continuing the prayer vigils today, were informed by the City Council that they were not allowed to speak at the Council’s meeting – or even to ask a question.

Marie Stopes Edgbaston is one of the busiest abortion centres in the country. In 2016 it performed 4631 abortions – 18 every working day. 40 percent of those abortions were upon a mother of a racial minority – far higher than the average for the Birmingham area. The Marie Stopes clinic also aborted 72 babies who were older than 20 weeks gestation.

Beckie Reeves, Life Link One Manager, said, “In recent months, we have seen the prolife voice being stifled on multiple fronts, whether at universities, in the media or, most recently, outside abortion centres. 

If harassment is occurring outside abortion centres then it should be stopped, and the police already have extensive powers to do so. Yet no arrests have been made in 20 years. 

Life does not conduct activities outside abortion centres. Our Pregnancy Matters™ service offers housing, practical help, and counselling to any women affected by abortion or crisis pregnancy. We believe women should be offered help and support to continue their pregnancies. The peaceful prayer vigils do this in a different manner to ours and we support their right to freedom of speech.

We thank the Councillors, unfortunately in the minority, who defended free speech today. The push to silence the prolife voice in the public sphere comes at a time when the abortion industry is pushing to legalise abortion in all circumstances up to birth, while also being slammed by government organisations for unsanitary and unsafe practices that place women at risk. They want to drive out the prolife voice wherever it is found. At Life Link One we are tremendously sad to see that the majority of Birmingham City Councillors listened to a well-funded and powerful lobby group instead of the thankful voices of those mothers helped by these peaceful vigils.” 

ENDS

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