Anti-abortion campaigners have been accused of harassing a pregnant MP in her own constituency with graphic billboards of foetuses.
Labour MP Stella Creasy said she felt “physically sick” over the campaign in Walthamstow, east London.
She has been specifically targeted in the advert campaign, called “Stop Stella”, after MPs approved her amendment to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland, the only area of the UK where it remains illegal.
One of the billboards claims to show a living foetus at nine weeks.
Another has an image of what it claims to be a 24-week-old aborted baby, under the message: “Your MP is working hard… to make this a human right.”
Twitter-can you get me the CEO of @CCUK_Direct advertising? how much did you get for this crap? @metpoliceuk still think this is just 'free speech' and not harassment of women in walthamstow? Am sorry for the graphic images and @patel4witham am reaching out to you for help now. pic.twitter.com/rOG7Gc3App— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) September 30, 2019
Those behind the campaign have also set up a website targeting the MP, and they leafleted shoppers in east London at the weekend.
The campaign was established by CBRUK, the British wing of the US anti-abortion group the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has received more than 20 complaints about the billboard.
Ms Creasy posted images of the campaign on Twitter and said she has contacted the police. She criticised billboard firm Clear Channel Direct for running the advert.
She tweeted that they made her feel “physically sick” and told past home secretaries Sajid Javid and Amber Rudd they had failed to heed her previous warnings about such campaigns.
Feel physically sick-tried to warn you @sajidjavid and @AmberRuddHR when you said powers in place to deal with this crap enough. Today the police said they wouldn’t use PSPO powers to move these people on. We also have recording saying targeting me explicitly for being pregnant. pic.twitter.com/KnrQ3fXBoA— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) September 28, 2019
On Monday afternoon, she tweeted an image which showed the billboard had been covered in white paint.
I would rather @CCUK_Direct took this advert down, the @metpoliceuk acted to stop the harassment and @patel4witham brought in buffer zone legislation to deal with these people in first place - but in the mean time seems Walthamstow has my back ..#lovewalthamstow #hatebullies pic.twitter.com/gRwrEG8jv1— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) September 30, 2019
The Labour MP was backed by her party colleague and London mayor Sadiq Khan.
He tweeted: “Sickening scenes in Walthamstow where anti-abortion campaigners are targeting @StellaCreasy.
“Whilst the right to peaceful protest must be respected, behaviour that deliberately targets women for harassment and intimidation should not be tolerated. @MetPoliceUK are investigating.”
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry tweeted: “It is entirely wrong to run a campaign against a pro-choice MP like this @CCUK_Direct.
“To make it worse, this poster is outside a school. And furthermore – yes there is more – the MP you are targeting is pregnant.”
Ruth Rawlins, of CBRUK, accused Ms Creasy of "hypocrisy” by only using the word “baby” when “a child is wanted but totally ignores the word in conversations about an unwanted baby”.
Ms Rawlins told the BBC: "We will, in the near future, be holding other MPs to account."
A spokesman for Clear Channel said: “We sincerely apologise for any offence that has been caused by a recent campaign which we ran in Walthamstow on behalf of a customer. We’re taking immediate action to remove this campaign.
“We take a neutral stance towards all advertising and have robust procedures in place to ensure that the creatives we run comply with the UK Advertising Codes. While this campaign met these requirements, we accept that the content should have been scrutinised in greater detail and should not have been displayed.
“We are reviewing the internal processes we have in place regarding the campaigns and content we run, to prevent an issue like this from happening again.”
The Metropolitan Police said its officers had attended the protest at the weekend.
In a statement, it said: "Officers listened to concerns about the content of parts of the protest but no criminal offences were committed.”