Anti-abortion protesters have targeted MPs who support pro-choice by draping graphic images of dismembered foetuses outside their offices.
Parliamentarians recalled abuse they had experienced at a debate led by MP Rupa Huq on Tuesday (November 7), which focused on protests outside family planning clinics.
The Ealing and Acton MP spoke out against anti-abortion protesters in her constituency, saying a group called Abort 67 had targeted her office in the past.
“[The] group unfolded these huge graphic images of dismembered foetuses, so speaking out against abuse invites abuse,” she told Westminster Hall.
Ms Huq made the comments as she offered support to Ealing Council's decision to stop anti-abortion groups from protesting outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing.
The authority is exploring options on how to prevent such demonstrations, including the use of Public Space Protection Orders, following a council meeting on October 10.
Referring to the situation outside the clinic, the Labour MP said: “In recent years the street has become simply impassable and that is because of the pro-life protesters positioned outside the gates.
“They proposition women on their way in and on their way out with distressing imagery, they've had me seething with rage really since the nineties."
Ms Huq added: “The clinic logs every incident and the kind of comments made to service users, 'God will punish you', grabbing individuals preventing their entrance, calling them a murderer, plastic foetus dolls.
“There is a sense that rather like with this Westminster scandal that things cannot go on as they are.”
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott accused anti-abortion groups of waging a “guerrilla attack” on the right to choose at the Tuesday (November 7) debate.
She said: “They're actually setting themselves up against the settled view of the House of Commons and more importantly the settled view of the public.
“It is a sort of guerrilla attack on a women's right to choose."
She added: “Many of these groups also oppose contraception, sex education and even IVF fertility treatment. Other groups have links to the far right.
“So this is not about people expressing an opinion, I am a Member of Parliament I believe in healthy and vigorous debate.
“This is about people trying to threaten and harass staff members and women, members of the public who are coming to seek desperately needed advice.
“Fifty years after this House agreed that women should have a right to choose it would be entirely wrong if this House failed to stand up now and say that the right to choose should be meaningful and should not be disrupted and opposed by these demonstrations.”
The debate in Westminster Hall follows a letter organised by Ms Huq that was co-signed by another 112 MPs from across five parties.
Signatures included those from four party leaders including Jeremy Corbyn MP, leader of the Labour Party.
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