The Abortion Act 1967 was created and passed to afford women across Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland) much wider and legal access to abortions. Amendments have been made since then though overall this right has largely remained intact and untouched, marking over half a century of liberty on this front.
This viewpoint however isn’t one that’s universally held – in fact there exist a relatively small but still considerable number of citizens in this country who are fully in favour of banning this access. A YouGov poll taken back in 2013 showed that, of the over 4,000 individuals included in the survey, around 7% of people believed this.
It’s clear that those from The Good Counsel Network who hold almost daily vigils outside of the Marie Stopes clinic on Mattock Lane are like-minded in this as they make a concerted effort to convince women attempting to use the services provided here not to do so. Moreover, there has been a notable increase in this kind of activity across the country at other such clinics, and with this has come a rise in the opposition.
Sister Supporter, an organisation set up a mere couple of years ago by Ealing’s own Anna Veglio-White, is central in this battle. Initially gaining prominence after their petition, which has led to Ealing Council’s currently ongoing consultation on whether to implement a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) at the aforementioned clinic in our Borough, Sister Supporter have now gone national – hosting workshops to show others from around the country how they too can do the same thing in their own respective areas.
In this interview we discuss with Anna what her organisation has accomplished, her thoughts on those involved in the pro-life/anti-choice (depending on your take) vigils, and also the issue of whether these protestors’ actions amount to harassment. Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, decided last November to create a Select Committee to discuss this very issue as a result of what these groups have been doing – i.e. whether harassment laws should be amended to incorporate language to disallow this sort of action (currently harassment is defined by repeated action against a particular individual).
Obviously this is a very divisive issue, so please feel free to sound off below the video or on the Exposure Box TV Forum with your own views and be a part of the debate!
Sister Supporter can be found at sistersupport.com.