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Mother who decided not to have abortion due to pro-life volunteers gives evidence to Scottish Parliament committee

by | Mar 14, 2024

By Right to Life UK

A mother who was provided with support by pro-life volunteers outside an abortion clinic has told a committee on buffer zones in Scotland that, had it not been for their support, “my beautiful daughter would not have been here today”.

Yesterday, in its third session considering evidence of the impact of abortion buffer zones on various stakeholders, the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee heard from a number of opponents of the legislation, which will introduce the world’s most extreme buffer zone law to Scotland.

“The pro-life vigil gave me the hope I was searching for”

Among those providing evidence was a mum, Alina Dulgheriu, who shared her personal experience of being helped by pro-lifers outside an abortion clinic.

“In 2011, I was single, abandoned, facing unemployment and terrified when I discovered I was pregnant” she said.

Alina had booked an abortion as she felt she had no other options and “little in the way of financial or emotional support”.

“I wanted to keep her [my baby], but I didn’t know how, so my hope rapidly began to fade. The day that I turned up to my abortion appointment, a volunteer outside the clinic gently gave me a leaflet”.

“Somewhere beneath the palpable anxiety and pressure, I felt it provided me with exactly what I was longing for. Some would say I already [chose] abortion, but the truth is I didn’t choose it. The pro-life vigil gave me the hope I was searching for,” Alina said.

“Had I not received the support from volunteers, my beautiful daughter would not have been here today”.

“I chose to accept help. It wasn’t easy, but with the support of the group who had given me that leaflet, I could not be [prouder] of the life my daughter and I have charted [together]”.

She added that “hundreds of women” have benefited from receiving the same kind of support.

“It is worrying that we will consider denying vulnerable women access to this potentially life-changing information, especially when facing one of the most challenging decisions of their lives that could have lasting ramifications on their mental and physical health”.

Co-director of March for Life UK, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, who has been praying outside abortion clinics and speaking to those attending for 20 years, told the committee: “We know many, many women who felt empowered to make the choice they wanted to make to continue their pregnancy because of the support we offered them, which might be financial support, accommodation, childcare, friendship, baby goods, private medical care, etc.”.

These services are “not offered by the abortion providers”.

She explained that, in her experience, women who are anxious about going for an abortion, outside of concerns about the abortion itself, “were anxious about what they thought we might do because of the negative and twisted stories that are written about pro-lifers”.

“What people hear or read about us is the chief cause of anxiety”.

Isabel said that volunteers have been “screamed at, spat at, sworn at, even physically assaulted”.

“Pro-lifers have been demonised. We’ve even had politicians calling us perverts. This has got to stop”.

She went on to warn the committee not to “patronise women just because they are pregnant. Clearly someone who is in a state of distress might be distressed at anything”.

“There’s all sorts of things that might distress people when they’re in those situations. But we can’t start making all these things criminal unless there’s something which is intentionally being offensive”.

Alina continued, “I don’t think we can say a picture of a pre-born child becomes offensive simply because somebody might get upset at seeing it any more than somebody carrying a baby is offensive just because it might upset somebody”.

Isabel has been arrested twice since December 2022 for silently praying outside abortion clinics. She had all charges dropped on both occasions.

The buffer zone will ban silent prayer and even reach into private dwellings

The explanatory notes accompanying the Bill make clear that the provisions of the Bill apply to “residential buildings” within the buffer zone. This means that it may be illegal to display a pro-life sign from within a church or within a person’s own home if it is visible within the buffer zone.

Anyone who commits an offence can be fined up to £10,000 [almost $13,000 in dollars]a summary conviction, or an unlimited fine on indictment.

Furthermore, the Bill gives the Scottish Government the power to extend any buffer zone beyond 200m if they judge that the existing zone “does not adequately protect” women seeking an abortion. There is no limit on the size of the buffer zone that can be created under this power.

Polling from Savanta ComRes indicates that only 30% of the population in Scotland support the introduction of nationwide buffer zones around abortion clinics.

The poll assessed support for buffer zones of 150 metres, as will be introduced in England and Wales, so it is likely that support would be even lower for the Mackay buffer zone law, given the proposed law in Scotland would introduce a more extreme 200m buffer zone.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said

“Alina is just one of many women who have been helped outside abortion clinics by pro-life volunteers who have provided them with practical support, which made it clear to them that they had another option other than going through with the abortion.

“The proposed law change would mean that the vital practical support provided by volunteers outside abortion clinics will be removed for women, and many more lives would likely be lost to abortion.

“If this Bill becomes law, the world’s most extreme buffer zone law will be introduced in Scotland”.

“This legislation goes further than any buffer zone legislation in any other jurisdictions, creating a larger buffer zone than anywhere else in the world and giving the Scottish Government powers to extend these zones without limit”.

“This is a truly draconian piece of legislation. It creates an offence for being publicly pro-life. It is direct viewpoint discrimination.”

Categories: Pro-Lifers