Wednesday 6 October 2010

Marie Stopes: No Children Allowed

The children and I went again to the prayer vigil outside Marie Stopes House. 
I had been thinking about how to explain the purpose of our trip to Colmcille ,who is old enough to read the signs, but too young I feel, to need to understand what it really means.
He is a very innocent and optimistic child  and I  want to protect that while I can. So I just explained that some mummies are very scared when they find out that they are having a baby and worry that they won't be able to cope.
When we pray to end abortion, we are praying for all those mummies and their babies.
Initially, because I was concerned about offending his innocence, I was undecided about taking him along, But I became very determined to attend these vigils with the children when I can because I think the sight of children is a strong rebuke to the culture of death.  And also I think it is very encouraging to other pro lifers to have mothers and children join them.
The parish Priest of my local church told me that when he attended the vigil a man turned up with his pregnant wife and young child. He was quite adamant that this new pregnancy should not continue. It seems that when the wife went in for her appointment, the husband was asked to wait outside the clinic with the child.
  Whilst he was waiting on the pavement Fr. John managed to have a conversation with him. He pointed out to him that it was unusual treatment to ask a husband and child to wait outside in the street whilst the mother is being seen. Ordinarily the person accompanying the woman would at least expect to be able to wait somewhere inside, and little comforts might be provided, like toys for the children.
But this is an establishment where the visible presence of children is an unwelcome and discomfiting reminder of the nature of their business.
This struck a chord with the husband who agreed with Fr John's observation.

When I heard this I became determined to attend the vigil when I can with the children.
Although the older ones are at school during the day , I home educate the youngers, so it's reasonably easy, in theory, to find a bit of time to go up there.
The tricky bit is going on the underground. I think next time I'm going to go to Tottenham Court Rd and walk. It's further away, but at least I could get straight there without having to change lines.
But whenever we've gone it's been fine. Colmcille pushes Honor up and down the road in her buggy holding a little 40 Days For Life sign over his head. I manage with Marie-Aibhlinn in the sling. Passers by smile at them. We get doughnuts on the way home.
(These photos were emailed to me by Claz , an enthusiastic young catholic who also blogs. Nice to meet you Claz!   ). 
Last time I was there I agreed to be interviewed by Greg Clovis for EWTN.  I'm eyeing the pro life websites a little trepidatiously in case I see myself, but nothings come up yet.  Perhaps they won't even use it. 
At one point while I was talking on camera, I gestured dramatically with my hand to the clinic over the road, just as a man came past me with his takeaway coffee and sandwiches. I half walloped him, but he ducked like a ninja without spilling his coffee.
That little bit of "pro life aggression" could be interesting on the video. Signs and cute children are eye catching,  but nothing grabs the attention like a little wallop round the chops .

"Let me tell you why I believe abortion is the crucial issue of our age. First, because abortion, too, is about living within the truth. The right to life is the foundation of every other human right. If that right is not inviolate, then no right can be guaranteed. Or to put it more bluntly: Homicide is homicide, no matter how small the victim."
~ Most Reverend Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Denver, CO, Living within the truth: Religious liberty and Catholic mission in the new order of the world, August 24, 2010

(Update: Kate from At Home In My Fathers House has also posted about her vigil outside the London clinic, read about it here.)


  1. You are a fantastic girl Clare! I just posted a video which I think you will be interested in. It shows that pro-life people don't always get a fair deal. This happened in Canada at Carlton University. Have a look and let me know what you think. Thanks and keep posting these really good and hard hitting blogs.

  2. Wonderful, Clare! I especially like the "wallop round the chops!"

    This post made me think again about what I can do as a pro-lifer here in Japan. I know that the abortion rate here is frighteningly high, like most other countries these days, and it's been legal here much longer than many other places (since just a few years after WWII, if I'm not mistaken). I have never ever heard of any pro-life activity here, and I'm not sure what the best approach would be in this culture, but it sure is something for me to seriously think and pray about! Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

  3. "So I just explained that some mummies are very scared when they find out that they are having a baby and worry that they won't be able to cope. When we pray to end abortion, we are praying for all those mummies and their babies."

    What a beautiful way to put it!

  4. What a fantastic witness to bring your little children along!(you are quite right though, Marie Stopes is not about children..)

    "The tricky bit is going on the underground."
    Being from 'down the country' and not a Londoner, I had my work cut out for me when the Victoria Line decided not to stop at Warren St......

  5. What a wonderful post. God bless you and your children

  6. God bless you and all who are ready and willing to stand there and be counted.

  7. @Puzzled,
    thanks for visiting.That video was shocking, it will be interesting to know how that develops. Kudos to that courageous girl student.
    how sad that there is so much apathy towards the evil of abortion in Japan. I think there's a great deal of apathy here too, even among Christians, and I have often felt envious of American pro lifers who at least share a cameraderie with eachother.
    I didn't know what to say actually, and I hadn't planned how to explain it. I did pray about it and trusted that the Holy Spirit would help me out.
    Thanks for visiting! Kudos to you for travelling in to the vigil!
    @St Malachy
    Nice to meet you!
    God bless you too!

  8. "So I just explained that some mummies are very scared when they find out that they are having a baby and worry that they won't be able to cope. When we pray to end abortion, we are praying for all those mummies and their babies."

    So you are praying that the abortion doesn't take too long? That's very considerate for you to worry about the time consuming process of having to get rid of unwanted, un-asked for responsibility. How inconsiderate of those babies to take up residence in those poor ladies wombs without asking and then just ASSUME they have the right to stay there. Good for you for realizing that!

  9. I love that you brought your children and if you go back I encourage you to keep bringing them. Darkness can't stand the light and that's why it is so hard for some to even be around them. Children are light. :)

  10. Anon's comment above says more about the impoverished humanity of some pro-abortion people than I would have dared to surmise.

    They, too, need our prayers.

    (PS a late arrival here - just directed by Fr Bede Rowe's blog...)


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