Some of those who were present in the Emmanuel Centre during the morning of March for Life UK may have recognised Sophie as she walked onto the stage. Sophie had attended March for Life on two previous occasions, once in 2015 as a pregnant mum with an abortion just booked and once in 2016 when she returned to thank the pro-lifers for being the witness that helped her to cancel that abortion. Fast forward a few years and Sophie is now the proud mother of four boys and ready to tell a little more of her story.
Sophie explained that when she first met March for Life in 2015 she already had a 7 month old son and was pregnant with baby number two. Sophie described how she was stigmatised for having poor mental health and was told that if she continued with her pregnancy not only would that unborn child be taken into care at birth but her 7 month old would as well. Sophie related how when she found out she was pregnant with baby number two she was happy but that ‘no-one else was’. She continued ‘I was judged, criticised and told I wouldn’t cope with another child because of my mental health’ and so, reluctantly, thinking it was the best thing for her 7 month old, Sophie went for an abortion consultation.
‘In my head I imagined the clinic would be a welcoming place’ said Sophie ‘a therapy room with a sofa and a calm environment’ but in reality what she met was ‘a worn out medical bed, stirrups, instruments laid out on a table and women who were neither reassuring or supportive at all.’ Sophie was then given a scan while staff insisted on referring to her baby as ‘it’. ‘They constantly degraded my baby’ stated Sophie ‘I told them I don’t know if I can do it, my baby is beautiful – “It’s not a baby, it’s a fetus” they replied’.
The whole encounter left Sophie feeling pressured into terminating her unborn child. Sophie had already experienced a bonding with this child but was so worried about the implications keeping her unborn child would have on her other 7 month old son that she booked an abortion. She walked back through the city centre with a heavy heart when her attention was attracted by singing and chanting from a crowd with many banners and posters, particularly one that was printed with the message ‘It’s not a choice, it’s a child’. ‘I was interested’ said Sophie and so she came to speak to one of the pro-lifers in the crowd, a young woman called Bernadette.
The rest, as they say, is history. Sophie chatted to the crowd and listened to the speeches. By the time she got home she realised she couldn’t continue with her appointment so she phoned up and cancelled her abortion. This received a rapturous round of applause from those gathered to listen to Sophie. Who would have thought that a young pregnant woman who encountered the march ‘by chance’ and stopped to listen to the speeches coming from the public stage would herself become one of those speakers. Sophie reminded those who were about to go out on the march that there could be someone in the city in a similar position to how she was in 2015 who might see their banner.
The highlight of Sophie’s talk was when she called her young son over to stand with her. She told those present that Riley was a reminder that although it can be tough, there is help. ‘So many people here have helped me and my family’ she said. Sophie lifted up her 6 year old son to the microphone as she called out ‘Life from conception!’ a bright smile came across Riley’s face as he remembered his cue and between laughs and giggles he responded ‘No exception!’