I receive email from Neil Addison, the distinguish barrister and director of the St. Thomas More Legal Center in the UK. Mr. Addison explains the situation better than I could.
Dear Father Z, Father Tim ["His Hermeneuticalness" Finigan] and Joseph [Shaw, head of the Latin Mass Society]
I write about an item in this weekend’s Catholic Times and Catholic Herald newspapers which you may perhaps want to blog about.
As you will recollect at the Latin Mass Society Conference there was a memorable talk by Stuart McCullough of the Good Counsel Network who provide an advice and support service for women contemplating abortion or who are suffering psychological trauma following an abortion. Amongst other things they organise a prayer vigil outside the Marie Stopes Abortion Clinic in Whitfield Street London which also provides them with the opportunity to talk to women. They do not, of course, prevent any woman going into the Clinic.
Good Counsel have been written to by a Solicitors Firm acting on behalf of Marie Stopes threatening them with an Injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. They have also, and rather bizarrely, been threatened with being reported to the Advertising Standards Authority. This is because Marie Stopes disagree with the leaflets produced by Good Counsel talking about the realities of abortion and the possible psychological consequences. Marie Stopes also complain about the Good Counsel people having on display rosary beads in “baby pink and blue” ! [Yep. Those pink and blue rosaries are pretty threatening.]
I met the Good Counsel Network for the first time at the LMS Conference and introduced myself and told them about the Thomas More Legal Centre and our work defending Religious Freedom which was fortuitous because they were able to contact the Centre when they received the Solicitor’s letter.
I have replied and I attach both the Marie Stopes letter and my reply. Amongst other things I have said:
” Good Counsel do indeed have Rosary beads which are in both “baby pink and blue” to use the description in your letter, the colours being chosen in memory of the baby girls and baby boys killed daily by MSI. These Rosary beads are not forced upon anyone and possession and use of the Holy Rosary is a “manifestation of religion” protected under Article 9″
” I frankly regard this suggestion that you would refer the matter to the ASA as simply an attempt to intimidate Good Counsel by making a threat which you yourselves must know is legally fatuous.”
” In any event Good Counsel is prepared if necessary to defend before the ASA or a Court everything said in its leaflets the contents of which are based on solid scientific study and on the testimony and experience of many women who have had Abortions. Good Counsel and organisations like it deal daily with women suffering the physical and psychological effects of Abortion; effects which MSI attempts to ignore. Let us be blunt Marie Stopes International makes a great deal of money by persuading women to kill their unborn babies and makes no money if women decide to keep their babies. Marie Stopes International is by no stretch of the imagination a neutral and impartial voice on the physical and psychological effects of Abortion and has a substantial financial interest in trying to silence any person or organisation which questions the effect of, or provides alternative information about, Abortion. That is very clearly what they are trying to do with regard to the work of the Good Counsel Network. “
The talk Mr. Addison mentions at the top of his letter, the presentation at the LMS conference by Stuart McCullough of the Good Counsel Network was spectacular and moving. The Good Counsel Network is worthy of support of Catholics around the world.