Email from Right to Life UK  (April 12th 2019)
Dear HUGH ,

I just wanted to contact you to thank you for your support over the last year.

I think you will agree that it has been a very challenging and busy time, with the abortion lobby's relentless campaign to introduce a new extreme abortion law to England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Thanks to your support we have been able to put up a strong fight every time they have attempted to advance their campaign in Parliament, the media, and among the wider public.

Alongside this, we have been able to secure a number of key victories and achievements. I wanted to share some of these with you and thank you for your support.

These important victories could not have happened without you.

1. Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill proceeds to Committee Stage in the House of Lords

Baroness O’Loan’s Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill passed Second Reading and progressed through to Committee Stage in the House of Lords.

This has put the issue of conscientious objection on the agenda in Parliament. A large group of peers spoke in support of the Bill during the debates as it progressed through the Lords with some excellent contributions from Lady Finlay, Baroness O'Loan, Lord Alton, Lord Shinkwin, and Lord Mackay.

The Bill was supported by a wide group of medical professionals outside Parliament who are directly affected by the current status quo and want to see change so they are protected in the future.

It also put the experience of the Scottish midwife, Mary Doogan, back in the media. Mary was hounded out of her job after 30 years (and delivering 5,000 babies) because she refused to supervise abortions. This has been accompanied by wider media coverage in a number of mainstream media publications covering the broader issues raised by the Bill.

Thousands of people have now written to their MPs asking that this issue is now raised in the Commons and we will be working hard to ensure that the focus on this continues over the coming year.

2. Attempt to introduce nationwide 'buffer zones' defeated

The abortion lobby has been running a campaign over a number of years seeking to introduce national legislation to ban pro-life vigils offering support to women outside abortion clinics.

Their campaign has culminated in a very strong push over the last year to get the Home Office to undertake a national review, with the end goal of introducing these 'buffer zones' right across the UK.

In September 2018, following the review, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced that the Government would not introduce nationwide 'buffer zones' outside abortion clinics. This announcement was a great victory for mothers who will continue to be able to receive this vital support in the future.

Thank you to all our supporters who wrote to their MPs, signed petitions to Sajid Javid, and submitted to the Home Office review. You have played a big part in making this great outcome a reality.

A final thank you has to go the pro-life MPs and peers working in Parliament to ensure the Home Office, the Government, and a far wider group of MPs and peers were aware of the reality of support offered outside these clinics and the implications for freedom of speech if they were banned on a national level.

3. Multiple attempts to impose abortion on Northern Ireland and introduce an extreme abortion law in England/Wales have failed

Over the last year, there have been a number of attempts in Parliament to impose abortion on Northern Ireland and introduce an extreme abortion law in England and Wales.

At each of these stages, we have faced a large lobbying programme in Parliament from pro-abortion organisations, media coverage and mobilisation of pro-abortion supporters to pressure MPs to vote for these proposals.

At each of these attempts, we have worked to mobilise a large group of pro-life MPs and those who are willing to join us in voting against these proposals. We have also secured widespread mainstream media coverage with the proposals and positive pro-life alternatives. A special thanks here has to go to the thousands of our supporters who have mobilised to lobby their MPs in person, over the phone, and via email.

This has presented an opportunity for the Commons to hear key pro-life messaging and have pro-life MPs speak out on these issues in Parliament and in the media.

In October, Diana Johnson's Ten Minute Rule Bill gained a majority at first reading, but as expected, failed to pass at second reading and has very little chance now of going further.

The abortion lobby will be back as this year progresses. They will be using any opportunity they can to bring their proposals forward again. They have also made it very clear that they will be bringing forward an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill which is expected to come before Parliament later in the year. This will require a very large amount of work to defeat.

4. Assisted suicide defeated on Guernsey and continued strong opposition at Westminster

We have taken the strategy, media and digital expertise that we built up from working with a large group of allies to defeat the Marris assisted suicide bill in 2015, to continue to ensure assisted suicide is not legalised.

The decisive win in 2015 has meant that it has been difficult for the assisted suicide lobby to bring forward legislation. They have therefore been working quietly behind the scenes to try and grow their numbers ahead of another attempt in coming years. We have focused on defensive work in Westminster to help limit their advance.

The assisted suicide lobby has also attempted to gain momentum by targeting Guernsey to change the law there. In May 2018 proposals were brought forward to the Guernsey parliament seeking to introduce assisted suicide.

We worked with a large group of key people in Guernsey, providing the political strategy and media expertise we have built up over the years of fighting assisted suicide in Westminster, to support their campaigning.

The proposals were overwhelmingly defeated at the Guernsey parliament by 24 votes to 14.

5. Shining a light on the millions spent from the UK's international aid budget on abortion

We have been working to expose the enormous amount of international aid funding that is going from the UK to provide abortion services in developing countries.

This work has focused on putting pressure from within Parliament on the Department for International Development on this issue. We have also helped raise the issue in the mainstream media so that the wider public is aware of the negative impact that this spending is having in developing countries.

6. Our media strategy continues to help shape the mainstream media narrative on life issues

Concrete political change on life issues can only happen in conjunction with wider cultural change outside Parliament.

A key part of changing the wider culture on these issues is ensuring that pro-life messaging is heard in the mainstream media on a regular basis, and is supporting the positive changes that are being brought forward in Parliament.

Over the last year, we have put a big focus on getting positive pro-life messaging regularly featured in the mainstream media. This has included coverage in the outlets featured in the image above.

Our focus on mainstream media has been so important because this allows us to reach a large middle ground of people, with a focus on areas where research shows the majority of people are very open to seeing a political and cultural change to our abortion laws.

Wherever possible, we have ensured that the spokespeople we use as the voice on these issues in the media are most likely to connect with mainstream audiences. This has included women who have been personally affected by abortion, people with disabilities and medical experts.

7. Our digital strategy is changing the hearts and minds of a new generation online

Over the last year, we have worked on growing our digital strategy to reach an even larger audience online with smart, relevant, and viral-focused content.

Our social media channels across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube have reached a new generation of people on a massive scale allowing us to reach millions of people across these platforms during the year.

Responding to the rise of video content on social media, we have further developed our in-house digital video capacity. This has allowed us to produce more world-class videos which we have utilised in our campaigns and on social media. With this in-house capability, we have been able to produce TV commercial quality video for a fraction of the traditional cost.

Alongside our social media strategy, we have relaunched our website with a focus on making it a tool that any member of the public can use to easily contact their MP when alerted to do so.

The new site is built to work seamlessly across desktops, tablets and mobile devices. This means that we can have a very large group of people responding instantly to any development in Parliament, regardless of where they are at the time.

Within hours of a key development in Parliament literally thousands of emails have been able to be sent directly to MPs. This ensures that MPs are aware that there is a very large and active grassroots movement in their constituencies who are pro-life and care about how they vote on these issues.
The feedback we have had from MPs has been overwhelmingly positive as they have felt that there is real momentum for positive pro-life change from within their constituencies.

I hope this gives you a good overview of how your support has made a big difference.

Thank you again for your generosity.

Clare McCarthy
Right To Life UK

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