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A ‘feminist’ pro-life activist has hit back at critics who have told her to stop ‘bringing US politics’ to the UK and has said she will not stop campaigning- despite losing friends and being inundated with rape and death threats.
Eden McCourt, 23, from Croydon, has been involved with anti-abortion activism since she was a teenager after she found out that her parents were encouraged to abort her late disabled sister who had Patau syndrome.
Her parents went ahead with the pregnancy by the editorial assistant was left distressed by the laws surrounding abortion in the UK and said that she wants to change people’s ‘hearts and minds’ on the controversial subject.
She spends her time voicing her opposition to abortion through street activism and on TikTok.
The 23-year-old has been accused of ‘hating women’ and received ‘horrendous’ messages threatening to rape or kill her.
She said she has been told to stop ‘bringing US politics to the UK’ but says that there are ‘millions’ of Brits with the same opinions as her.
Eden McCourt, 23, from Croydon, has been involved with anti-abortion activism since she was a young teen as she found out that her parents were encouraged to abort for her late disabled sister who had Patau syndrome
Her parents went ahead with the pregnancy but the editorial assistant, pictured in front of parliament, was left distressed by the laws surrounding abortion in the UK and said that she wants to change people’s ‘hearts and minds’ on the controversial subject
Eden said: ‘It’s weird. I see multiple comments about me being English [on Tiktok] It really confuses me.
‘As far as the facts go, abortion has been legal in Britain since 1967, when it was only legalised in the US in 1973.
‘I think the reason why people associate this with being an American issue is that they see abortion being discussed in the media in an American context.
‘Over in America, the anti-abortion people are making headway. They’re loud and not backing down, and it’s more of a struggle that’s manifesting into something real.
‘The oldest pro-life organisation in the world is from the UK – Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.
‘I don’t really know what being British has to do with it. If a human rights injustice exists, you don’t have to be from a specific place to have an opinion or stand up against it.
‘When abortion is discussed in the media, photos from American vigils and rallies are shown, which aren’t true to what we have over here.
‘We are different, we do things differently here. There are a lot of British and English pro-lifers.’
She spends her time voicing her opposition to abortion through street activism and on TikTok. The 23-year-old, pictured in front of parliament, has been accused of ‘hating women’ and received ‘horrendous’ messages threatening to rape or kill her
The 23-year-old first became interested in debating the topic of abortion when she discovered that doctors had tried to convince her parents to abort her younger sister.
She said: ‘I had a sister with severe disabilities. She had Patau syndrome, she’s no longer here sadly.
‘My parents found out about her condition when they went for a scan.
‘My dad comes from an Afro-Caribbean background. That culture really values the human person, so abortion was just not an option.’
‘When I was a teenager abortion was becoming a popular thing to talk about.
‘My parents hadn’t really talked to me about abortion, but I remember asking my mum about the subject.
After reading up on abortion when she heard about what doctors had recommended her parents, Eden began sharing pro-life things online and began her activism
‘She told me how medical professionals were pushing for her and my dad to have an abortion with my sister.
‘She was born when I was three and died just before I was seven.
‘Doctors said she wouldn’t make it to birth and if she did, she’d only live for a couple of hours. But she lived until she was almost four.
‘That shaped my perspective on life. Even though she suffered, she was the happiest person I’d ever met.
‘When I found out that the medical profession had pushed for my parents to have an abortion, I started reading into abortion.
‘I found out that the abortion limit for ‘normal’ pregnancies is 24 weeks but in the cases of suspected foetal anomalies, it’d be up to birth. That really shocked me.
Eden also attended the March for Life, pictured with Thomas Gerard, 23, and formed her own group called Abortion Resistance as well as taking to TikTok to share her views
‘Around that time, I had a conversation with a friend where she basically said my parents were selfish for having my sister and that people with disabilities didn’t deserve a chance at life.
‘Off the back of this, I started volunteering at a pregnancy crisis centre in London. I started going to the March For Life and I started sharing pro-life stuff online.’
Afterwards, Eden formed her own group called Abortion Resistance and took to TikTok to share her views but found out that a lot of people were not fond of her opinions.
Eden said: ‘My TikTok is an off-shoot of my personal activism. It’s where all the young people are but there’s a lot of misinformation on there.
‘TikTok is a very polarising platform. The majority of my comments do disagree and that doesn’t surprise me – but I have been able to change quite a few minds.
Eden says she gets death threats and has some ‘bad’ and nasty disagreements online with other people
The 23-year-old said she is optimistic that she can change people’s minds even though she says it is difficult to hold anti-abortion views in Britain
‘Although there are a lot of bad and nasty disagreements, it’s always worth it to speak to people who don’t want a comment war and want to learn something new.
‘I get private messages and some of them are just horrendous – rape threats and death threats.
‘I think some people react like this because abortion is a very sensitive topic. Everybody knows someone who has had an abortion and it’s very emotionally charged.
‘It’s not an experience anybody would wish for somebody to go through. So many people are affected by it, whether directly or indirectly.
WHAT IS THE ABORTION TIME LIMIT IN THE UK?
Most abortions in England, Wales and Scotland are carried out by the end of the 24th week of pregnancy.
They can be carried out after 24 weeks in certain circumstances, for example, if the mother’s life is at risk or the child would be born with a severe disability.
Campaigners urge for the time-limit to be reduced due to figures revealing one-third of babies born at 23 weeks survive.
Some argue that at 23 weeks, babies can detect their mothers’ movements, as well as having a decent sense of hearing.
They can also make facial expressions and produce urine at just 14 weeks, and hiccup at 11 weeks.
‘It causes a lot of anger. I don’t blame them. If I respond, I try to be as understanding and compassionate as I can be.’
The 23-year-old says she is optimistic that she can change people’s minds even though she says it is difficult to hold anti-abortion views in Britain.
Eden said: ‘It is difficult to be pro-life in Britain today. It’s very scary and you’re subjected to a lot of hate.
‘I’ve lost a lot of friends because I’m pro-life. They know me and they know I’m not pro-life because I hate women or anything like that.
‘I hear, “You hate women” a lot. It’s ridiculous. I’m a woman, I’m a feminist and to assume that loving women is supporting abortion is really disturbing.
‘In this day and age, people become so attached to their viewpoints. People cling to their beliefs so tightly that it becomes who they are, so anybody who threatens becomes an enemy.
‘If you can save one life, it’s worth it.’
She said many anti-abortion groups lobby parliament to change laws but Abortion Resistance speaks to people and ‘works to change hearts and minds.’
Eden adds that her end goal is to make abortion illegal and unthinkable but also wants people to understand what it is.
She said: ‘I want women to be so supported throughout and after their pregnancies that it wouldn’t be something they’d need to worry about.
The 23-year-old said she gets a swathe of death threats and negative messages online because of her pro-life stance
She added that she is ‘speaking to people on a real level’ to get the groundwork done and is ‘super optimistic.’
‘When I look at other human right’s crises throughout history, you see that they’ve been overturned and it took a few years to make change,’ she said.
‘It may seem hopeless at the moment but we have been able to overturn human right’s injustices in the past.’
‘Do you not realise that England legalised abortion before the States ever did? Do you realise that abortion has been going on for longer in England than in America?
‘Do you realise that a human’s rights injustice is a human’s rights injustice no matter where it takes place?
‘And no matter where you’re from, if you disagree with that injustice, you can stand up against it.
‘So I don’t really understand why me being from England has anything to do with anything if I’m being completely honest.
‘I don’t get it, but anyway. I don’t get those comments, I don’t understand them. I don’t know why they exist, I don’t know why people think it’s something they need to put on the page.
‘I just don’t see how it’s relevant but anyway.’
What is Patau’s syndrome?
Patau’s syndrome is a serious rare genetic disorder caused by having an additional copy of chromosome 13 in some or all of the body’s cells.
Babies with Patau’s syndrome grow slowly in the womb and have a low birth weight, along with a number of other serious medical problems – 8 out 10 will be born with severe heart defects.
More than 9 out of 10 children born with Patau’s syndrome die during the first year.