Britain’s most prominent pro-life pregnancy counseling centre, the Good Counsel Network, has been threatened with legal action by the international abortion giant Marie Stopes International. At the same time as abortion facilities across the country are feeling the pressure of a government investigation into their illegal practices, MSI has accused the Good Counsel Network of “intimidating” women going into their abortion facility in London.
The GCN is one of the few organizations in Britain dedicated to providing advice and support for women contemplating abortion or who are suffering psychological trauma following an abortion. The centre is run according to the pro-life precepts of the Catholic Church, but is independent and funded privately by donations of cash, maternity clothes and baby items.
The Marie Stopes abortion clinic in front of which volunteers with the Good Counsel Network pray and counsel abortion-bound women.
But it is their daily prayer vigil outside the Marie Stopes abortion facility in Whitfield Street, London that continues to infuriate the abortion industry. The group says these “abortuary vigils” give volunteers the opportunity to talk to women who are in crisis pregnancies, but insist that they would not attempt to directly prevent any woman from entering the facility.
Neil Addison, an expert in anti-discrimination law, told LifeSiteNews.com that the Good Counsel Network has received legal notice that Marie Stopes intends to pursue an injunction, under the Protection from Harassment Act and the Data Protection Act, if they do not stop the prayer vigils. Marie Stopes has also threatened to make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority. Among Marie Stopes’ complaints is that during their prayer vigils the GCN display rosary beads in “baby pink and blue”.
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Addison, head of the Thomas More Legal Centre that defends the increasingly proscribed public expression of Christianity, is representing GCN. He released to LSN a copy of the letter from Kirkland & Ellis International law firm dated July 16th. In his response, Addison says that MSI is itself indulging in a campaign of intimidation using its vastly superior financial resources to rid itself of a group that is becoming increasingly embarrassing to the abortion giant. He called the threat “legally fatuous,”
“Let us be blunt,” Addison wrote. “Marie Stopes International makes a great deal of money by persuading women to kill their unborn babies and makes no money if women decide to keep their babies.” They are “by no stretch of the imagination a neutral and impartial voice” and have a “substantial financial interest in trying to silence” opposition.
“That is very clearly what they are trying to do with regard to the work of the Good Counsel Network.”
In their letter, Marie Stopes complains that “protesters” affiliated with GCN have “shouted ‘Don’t apologise just leave!’ or used similar vocabulary at MSI’s clients, have approached clients with plastic foetus’ asking the client to pray for the foetus, have attempted to intimidate clients by running up to them, have handed out baby pink and blue rosary beads, and have handed out leaflets containing graphic images.”
Marie Stopes also accuses the demonstrators of trying “to ‘cuddle’ the client,” which they say has caused some clients “immense distress”. One client, they said, was injured “whilst being pursued by a protestor”.
The letter complains that “protesters have filmed clients entering and leaving MSI’s centres” and, because clients give their names over the intercom, this constitutes “processing of personal data.”
The abortion organization also observes that leaflets handed out by the demonstrators claim that “abortion can result in breast cancer, disruption of the menstrual cycle and the inability to become pregnant in the future”.
“These claims are wholly unfounded. Likewise, the possible psychological implications of abortion set out in the leaflet are also misleading,” says MSI. The group says it can make a complaint to the ASA that these leaflets are “misleading, unsubstantiated and in some circumstances untrue”.
But Addison says that GCN is ready to defend all their activities and that the information in the leaflets on the effects of abortion is “based on solid scientific study and on the testimony and experience of many women who have had abortions,” effects which MSI “attempts to ignore”.
As MSI lashes out at GCN, the abortion industry in Britain is currently under heavy public pressure after a government probe revealed routine flouting of the rules governing abortion. Violations include performing abortions for sex-selection and providing forged permission forms from doctors who never speak to or examine clients. Britain’s Health Minister, Andrew Lansley, has called the practice of sex-selective abortion, which is being revealed to be rampant at Britain’s abortion facilities, “morally repugnant” and has ordered an investigation by the Quality Care Commission.
On their website, GCN says, “we aim to approach each woman offering her help and support to continue her pregnancy”. Only “one or two” trained volunteers are designated to talk to the women, while “all the others attending remain in constant prayer for the women, their children, the abortuary staff and the other people involved in her decision”.
Addison calls the threat about the Advertising Standards Authority “bizarre,” but the abortion industry has been shown to be in a close partnership with the government advertising regulators. In 2010, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) received over 5000 complaints after they approved commercial “post-conception advice services” – in reality abortion businesses – to be advertised on television and radio. The decision of BCAP and CAP was later ratified by the ASA who said the ads would not cause widespread offence, despite the outpouring of public anger.
Officially a charity, MSI is one of the largest and richest abortion industrialists and lobbyists in the world, running abortion, sterilization and artificial contraceptive operations in much of the developing world. It is funded heavily by the UK government. Along with the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), MSI is one of the busiest abortion organizations in the UK, conducting thousands of abortions across the country, largely funded by the National Health Service.
The British abortion industry has recently become increasingly agitated by opponents who are garnering public attention with their use of large graphic photographs of aborted children and who are skilled in making the case against abortion in public.
In March, BPAS expressed outrage that a Catholic bishop, Alan Hopes, an auxiliary bishop of Westminster, had dared to take a stand against abortion by attending the 40 Days for Life event, that drew huge media attention, in London. A BPAS spokesman said there is “no moral justification” for Bishop Hopes’ presence, because the women coming into their facilities had “already made up their minds”.