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Mothers lose court challenge to Ealing buffer zone

2 July 2018

 
Alina with her daughter Sarah outside the High Court. 

The next phase to shut down the pro-life movement in this country

The High Court has today upheld the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) imposed by Ealing Council this April that banned pro-life witnesses outside the Marie Stopes abortion centre.

A challenge to the buffer zone had been brought by Alina Dulgheriu, a mother who was helped by pro-life vigils. Lawyers acting on her behalf said that the Council's decision to ban pro-life vigils around the clinic was "unlawful, invalid and unjustified."

A democratic necessity?

Handing down the verdict today, Mr Justice Turner found that the ban does interfere with the human rights of those who participate in the vigils, but said the council was "entitled" to conclude it was a "necessary step in a democratic society".

Ms Dulgheriu said that she was "saddened and shocked that the Court has upheld a PSPO that prevents good people giving help to mothers who desperately want it...I am devastated for those women that since the introduction of the Ealing PSPO, have not been able to access the loving help that I did."

She said that she is discussing the options available to her to challenge the decision.

Banning charitable help

SPUC's Antonia Tully said it is shocking "that the High Court is allowing a council to ban peaceful public acts of witness and freedom of expression and stop members of the public offering charitable help to pregnant women. A mother who was herself given this help and has a beautiful six-year-old daughter as a result brought this challenge, and a judge has decided that no other mothers may be helped this way, and no-one else’s sons or daughters may be saved."

Shutting down the pro-life movement

She said that the decision has grave implications for pro-life activity in the UK. "The Ealing verdict heralds the next phase to shut down the pro-life movement in this country. SPUC, Britain's leading pro-life organisation, exists to speak out for the thousands of voiceless human beings who are killed by abortion each year.

"SPUC is a grassroots organisation whose members are active in towns and cities throughout the land - spreading the message that abortion kills babies and wounds mothers," Mrs Tully went on. "SPUC supporters are out delivering leaflets door to door, taking part in acts of witness in public places and holding public meetings. The Ealing verdict may be affecting only one small part of the country today. Tomorrow we could see this insidious opposition to the pro-life movement spreading throughout the land."

We must fight for the right to speak out

In anticipation of this, SPUC has launched a major national petition calling on the Home Secretary to oppose any moves to restrict peaceful pro-life citizen's freedom of expression.

"Countless women bear the scars of abortion," Mrs Tully concluded. "Outlawing the freedom to speak out publicly against abortion, means that the damaging impact of abortion on women will be sidelined even further. Who will help women suffering after an abortion when caring pro-lifers are forbidden to reach out to them in the public square?"

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