Since that encounter, Ealing Council has introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in order to ban counselling and even prayer from outside the facility. The PSPO was upheld by the High Court and Court of Appeal, and the UK Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Advancing to the highest Court in Europe, Alina and her team hope that the ECHR will overturn what they believe is an unjustified restriction of the group’s compassionate help.

Alina Dulgheriu, who is seeking justice at the ECHR stated:

 

“What kind of society withholds help from vulnerable women? I’m challenging Ealing Council’s PSPO at the ECHR because my experience is typical for many hundreds of others. I didn’t want an abortion but I was abandoned by my partner, my friends and society. My financial situation at the time would have made raising a child very challenging. Thanks to the help I was offered by a group outside of a clinic before my appointment, my daughter is here today. Refusing this charity from offering much-needed services and resources for women in my situation is wrong. Let them help.”

 

PSPOs may only be brought into force if they are ‘reasonable’ in order to prevent a detriment to the quality of life in the area. Local women in Ealing have rejected the implication that the prayer vigils in question caused any such negative impact, and instead criticize Ealing Council for banning help where it is most needed.

Clare Mulvaney, a local supporter of Alina’s campaign, said:

 

“I would invite anyone who opposes Alina’s case to speak first-hand to the women that have received life-changing help. Their stories are heart-breaking. The help offered is transformative. This is not about being “pro-life” or “pro-choice” – this is about offering emotional, financial and material support to women in need. And that support has been taken away without good reason. We will continue to support Alina and amplify her voice until justice is served.”

 

Elizabeth Howard, also a local supporter of the campaign, said:

“Alina’s story is typical of many. Over 500 women have accepted help from the vigil in Ealing over the past five years. Alina’s resolve in speaking out for other vulnerable women who only need some help – like she did – is inspirational. We support her taking her case all the way to the ECHR. Ealing Council’s censorship zone is an affront to human rights and a setback for women’s empowerment. It’s right that the European Court of Human Rights has an opportunity to rectify this injustice.”

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marg@helpersuk.org