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Christian councillor defends vote in favour of banning vigil outside abortion clinic

Wed 11 Oct 2017
By Tola Mbakwe

A Christian councillor for Ealing has defended his vote to ban vigils held by Christian pro-lifers outside an abortion clinic.

David Millican told Premier he's among those who voted for Ealing Council to introduce a Public Space Protection Order. It stops groups from protesting within a certain distance of the building.

In this case, it stops Christian charity Good Counsel Network.

Millican said: "I'm sure they are praying, however the general experience of what I've seen myself is women who are arriving and who have just left the clinic are confronted by very often quite a large group of people standing there making their views known, there are very graphic photographs."

However, Claire McCollough from the charity has denied the claims.

She told Premier the group has been wrongly accused: "This so something that's completely against our code of practice.

"I have been presented with no evidence to suggest that they are.

"Marie Stopes has two cameras on its door and its gate and we are there five days a week every week of the year therefore they must have thousands of hours of footage showing us doing these things, but I've seen none of it."

While the charity claims the its freedom of speech has been threatened, Millican also said the clinic's clients have also had their freedom threatened.

He added: "This is a discussion about people's right to undertake a lawful activity visiting a clinic.

"Pro-life people should be free to express themselves but not in an inappropriate way."

Following this resolution, the council will work on making it illegal for the group to meet outside Marie Stopes.

But McCullough said the charity will stand firm.

She told Premier: "Good Counsel Network is still in front of the clinic today and will continue to offer help and assistance to women there as long as it's legal for us to do so.

"And when it becomes illegal for us to do so we will fight that in court in every possible way that we can."

Listen to David Millican speaking with Premier's Tola Mbakwe here:

Listen to Claire McCullough speaking with Premier's Tola Mbakwe here:

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