I incurred quite a bit of derision from the abortion lobby following my post last week, calling into question both the impartiality of Rachel Garrick and the events that she described as taking place outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Whitfield Street.
It turns out I was not quite so far off the mark after all. A brief look at Rachel’s timeline shows that far from being someone who “isn’t particularly drawn to the reproductive rights debate”, she had in fact been tweeting about the issue of abortion, long before the remarks from Maria Miller and Jeremy a few weeks ago. As vice-chair of Rochester and Strood Labour party, Rachel was openly volunteering to “woman” the Abortion Rights stand at the Labour party conference on October 1st and ensuring that a union leaflet in support of abortion was carried by the TUC and all affiliate unions. That’s all well and good, but obviously the claim that she wasn’t interested in the pro-life debate is rather disingenuous.
With regards to what actually happened, Good Counsel Network confirmed that the young woman and her boyfriend were feeling uncomfortable about the decision to abort, but felt that circumstances dictated that they had little other choice. They were just on the verge of going to the Good Counsel Centre for some real and practical support when Wonder Woman flew to the rescue and efficiently browbeat them into the clinic. Upon leaving the clinic the young woman CHOSE to speak to the volunteer outside; she was still very upset and felt under increasing pressure as the clinic told her that she had very little time to make a decision.
Odd that a woman should emerge from a non-directive counselling session feeling more under pressure than ever. Surely, if Wonder Woman was correct in her assessment that the alleged photographs being shown were of a much later gestation than the lady’s baby, then the lady wasn’t anywhere near the 24 week limit. Isn’t that why abortion supporters are advocating a limit far in advance of 12 weeks, in order to give women adequate time to decide? Of course without knowing how pregnant this lady was, one can’t make a judgement call, but it seems fair to assume she was early on, and yet still felt under pressure to make a quick decision. Also note, that the lady says that the specific support that she needs, is NOT on offer from Marie Stopes.
It certainly calls into question the non-directive nature of the counselling offered by the abortion clinics. A pregnant woman emerges distressed and feeling that she has very little time to make her choice, when, even if she was 12 weeks, she still technically has plenty of time under the law. The other thing worth emphasising here, is that Marie Stopes charges £5 for the pregnancy test and £80 for the consultation. If you can only get a weekend appointment that’ll set you back an extra £40. Well they are not a charity, you know. Oh. Wait…
Still, none of this gives me any pleasure. It’s not an “I told you so”. Ultimately there’s a vulnerable pregnant young woman out there and hundreds like her, going into abortion clinics feeling like they have little other choice and being put under pressure to make hasty decisions. And those organisations who are trying to help them, who are reaching out, offering nothing but unconditional non-judgemental support and help are under not only financial pressure (Good Counsel are currently supporting over 30 mothers) but are subjected to hate campaigns and attempted vexatious litigation and complaints in an attempt to get them off the streets and cut women off from sources of help. In the meantime the abortion industry is funded by the government to the tune of millions of pounds every year, whereas Good Counsel and others rely solely on the generosity of individuals and unlike the clinics offer all their services gratis.
It really is time that a public consultation was held surrounding the abortion industry. Let those who say that they support choice, allow women with unplanned pregnancies the choice of accessing pro-life counselling support. Women aren’t stupid, they know that a clinic will be geared towards abortion, BPAS have thrown away all attempts at impartiality by advertising abortion, women know that a pro-life organisation will give them options that will steer them towards keeping the baby, why should they be denied access to this?
And let’s hope that future feministas to the rescue think twice before flying in to save the day and making things a whole lot worse for vulnerable woman in need of information surrounding all available options.