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High Court judge upholds ban excluding pro-life activity near abortion clinic

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A High Court judge has upheld the ban excluding pro-life free speech and activity from the nearby vicinity of Marie Stopes’ abortion clinic on Mattock Lane in Ealing. The decision made by Mr Justice Turner acknowledged that the PSPO enforced buffer zone violates the human rights of people involved in pro-life pavement counselling and prayer, but did nothing to put a stop to this violation of religious liberty and freedom of speech.

On 10 April, Ealing Council became the first local council to establish a buffer zone against pro-life activity which came into effect on 23 April. Since that time, pro-life campaigners and crisis pregnancy pavement counsellors and a group of mothers helped by pro-life groups outside abortion clinics formed a coalition campaign – Be Here For Me – and actively called for a repeal of the PSPO that has even banned prayer from within 100 metres of Marie Stopes, Mattock Lane. Alina Dulgheriu – one mother helped outside an abortion clinic - launched a legal fight on 30 April against the censorship zone that was taken to the High Court.

While options for appeal can and are being considered, Alina’s appeal has been unsuccessful at this stage, despite human rights abuses being noted.

Andre Clovis of Tuckers Solicitors, who represented Alina in her court action issued the statement:

“We are all very disappointed that the Court ultimately overlooked the many compelling arguments in favour of quashing the Public Spaces Protection Order, and thus the Claimants have sought the Court’s permission to appeal. This decision allows Ealing Council to seek criminal sanctions against individuals for purported ‘misbehaviour,’ such as silent prayer. This outcome sets as dangerous precedent and is a direct attack upon our very basic rights, such as freedom of expression. My view is that this decision cannot and should not be looked at in isolation for fear we continue the worrying trend of becoming a society where those with opposing views simply seek to shut each other down rather than engage in dialogue and debate. The true test for your belief in freedom of expression, is whether you are prepared to fight for the rights of those whose views you do not share, because you believe it is their right to hold and express views different from your own.”

To read stories of those helped by people standing outside abortion centres and to find out how you can support this important battle for free speech and women’s right to help and information visit the Be Here For Me website.