Parliament has heard of how a woman changed her mind about having an abortion thanks to the kindness of pro-lifers outside the clinic.
Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP, read the testimony at a debate in Westminster Hall over the introduction of buffer zones outside abortion clinics.
The woman, Kate, who did not want to give her full name, said her three-year-old daughter, “an amazing, perfect little girl”, would not be alive today if MPs seeking to stop vigils outside clinics had their way.
In her testimony she said she had never wanted to have an abortion but had felt pressure from the people around her.
On her way into the Marie Stopes clinic at Ealing, she said, she was offered a leaflet by a woman “who told me she was there if I needed her”.
“I then went into the clinic, still not happy about being there for an abortion, but under immense pressure from a group of people who were with me to go through with it,” she said.
“Once in the clinic, while the group were distracted, I leapt out of the ground-floor window and cleared three fences to escape. I talked to the woman on the gate again, who offered any support I needed to keep my baby and this gave me the confidence to leave where I was supported by the group that this woman worked with.”
She said the group was not aggressive in any way but showed her leaflets documenting the development of a baby in its early stages.
She told MPs that buffer zones were a “really bad idea”.
“Not every woman who walks into those clinics actually wants to go through with the termination. There’s immense pressure – maybe they don’t have financial means to support themselves or their baby, or they feel like there’s no alternatives. These people offer alternatives,” she said.
“I had my baby who is now three and a half years old. She’s an amazing, perfect little girl and the love of my life. I want MPs here today calling to introduce buffer zones to realise that she would not be alive today if they had their way.”
The debate in Parliament follows a letter signed by 113 MPs urging Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, to ban pro-life vigils outside abortion clinics.
Signatories of the letter included the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Lib Dem leader Vince Cable.
It was organised by the Labour MP Rupa Huq, who has campaigned for buffer zones in her constituency in Ealing, west London. Last month councillors in her borough voted to back the use of Public Space Protection Orders to stop pro-life vigils from taking place.