Ealing PSPO "blazing a trail" for other councils to ban pro-life vigils
12 April 2018
More councils are considering imposing PSPOs to ban pro-life vigils.
SPUC has launched a petition calling for a stop to this attack on peaceful freedom of expression
Following on from the decision by Ealing Council on Tuesday to impose a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) around the abortion centre on Mattock Lane, other councils are reportedly considering taking similar action to ban peaceful pro-life prayer vigils.
More bans possible
According to The Times, Lambeth Council is considering creating a PSPO around the Marie Stopes and BPAS clinics in Brixton and Streatham. The proposal is likely to go to a council vote in June. Jim Dickson, a councillor, said: "It’s good to see other councils blazing a trail."
Councils including Portsmouth, Manchester and Southwark have passed motions pledging to do "all in their power" to ban pro-life vigils. However, Southwark council found that it did not have enough evidence to impose a PSPO.
In the southwest London borough of Richmond upon Thames, where the Good Council Network holds a vigil, plans for a PSPO are also under consideration. Councillor Mark Boyle said: "It’s certainly interesting and good on Ealing for starting the process. I am committed to looking into PSPOs as a potential solution . . . we are preparing for a consultation."
Interference from Ealing
It emerged today that Ealing Council has been writing to other councils urging them to follow their lead in implementing buffer zones. Oxford Councillor Mary Clarkson tweeted: "Ealing Council have written to other councils, inc Oxford asking them to follow suit even though it’s none of their business what we do. Not aware of any problems in Oxford either at BPAS clinic or JR Hospital." She added that there was no public demand for a PSPO, which have proved controversial when used for other reasons.
Outrageous attack on freedom of expression
In a press statement, SPUC CEO John Smeaton said: "It is an absolute outrage that Christians are being banned from praying in public places in their own country...This move is an all-out attack on the freedom of expression and on the freedom to pray of peaceful pro-life citizens in Britain. It is starting with the freedom to express that unborn children have the right to life and the harm abortion does to women, and the freedom to pray where one chooses.
"But, unless a stand is made, it will spread to other life and family issues on which powerful groups or the government want to enforce silence or conformity. And we are calling on the silent majority to join with us and make that stand."
Freedom to pray - freedom of expression
SPUC has launched a new petition in response to this attack on pro-life vigils, calling upon the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, to oppose any moves to restrict peaceful pro-life citizens' freedom of expression and freedom to pray outside abortion centres. You can sign the petition here.
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