Challenge against abortion clinic buffer zone taken to the Supreme Court

Alina Dulgheriu considered an abortion but after meeting someone outside an abortion clinic, received help to keep her baby

A pro-life campaigner has filed a petition with the Supreme Court to appeal against London's first abortion clinic censorship zone.

The buffer zone imposed by Ealing Council criminalises assembling or praying in the vicinity of the local Marie Stopes.  It also stops pro-life volunteers from approaching women visiting the clinic to offer information about support or alternatives to abortion. 

The Court of Appeal ruled in August that the Ealing Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) violated freedom of assembly, but that this was outweighed by the potential "detrimental effect on the quality of life" to women visiting the clinic. 

Alina Dulgheriu, a mother who was helped by a pro-life vigil outside an abortion clinic, is seeking to overturn that ruling by applying to the Supreme Court to appeal the verdict. 

Her Supreme Court bid has received the support of hundreds of donors who have contributed over £50,000 to her legal fund.

Ms Dulgheriu said: "My little girl is here today because of the real practical and emotional support that I was given by a group outside a Marie Stopes centre, and I am going to appeal this decision to ensure that women do not have this vital support option removed.

"I will continue to stand up for the women whose voices have been sidelined throughout this process and for women who need life-saving support today but cannot get it.

Alina Dulgheriu's daughter Sarah is now 7-years-old

"Ealing Council could have taken action in a way that would have protected women and safeguarded the essential help offered at the gate. Instead, they criminalised charity and attempted to remove dedicated and caring individuals from public space without justification.

"It is very clear that many are opposed to Ealing's ban on peaceful and charitable activity, and like me, they want to see support available to vulnerable women where it is most needed.

"I cannot imagine a society where a simple offer of help to a woman who might want to keep her child is seen as a criminal offence. I refuse to accept that women should be denied the opportunity to receive help where they want to keep their child."

Elizabeth Howard, spokesperson for Be Here For Me, a group campaigning to safeguard pro-life vigils, said that over 500 women had accepted an offer of help and chosen to keep their baby in the five years that the pro-life vigil had been running in Ealing. 

"These women have tried again and again to have their voices heard, but they are ignored," she said.