Home Secretary: Stop Councils Criminalising Support Outside Abortion Centres for Women like Alina

Home Secretary: Stop Councils Criminalising Support Outside Abortion Centres for Women like Alina

 

Home Secretary: Stop Councils Criminalising Support Outside Abortion Centres for Women like Alina

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5,083 people have signed. Help us reach 10,000 signatures.

Home Secretary: Stop Councils Criminalising Support Outside Abortion Centres for Women like Alina

On 23 April 2018, Ealing Council introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) outside of an abortion centre in West London which made it a criminal offence to pray or offer support to women entering the centre. The PSPO prevents the local pro-life vigil from appearing within 100 meters of the clinic, despite over 20 years of the vigil operating peacefully without a single arrest.

Alina Dulgheriu, a mother who was personally supported by a pro-life vigil outside a London abortion centre, took the brave step of filing a legal challenge against the Ealing PSPO at the High Court in London. Alina argued that the right to free speech, the right to pray, the right to receive information and the right to assemble had all been violated by Ealing Council in passing the PSPO.

Although the High Court accepted that these rights had been infringed, it went on to uphold the PSPO, and ordered Alina to pay legal costs. Alina has now launched a crowdfunding page to raise the funds needed to appeal the High Court’s decision.

Announcing the launch of the crowdfunding page, Alina said: “I cannot imagine a society where a simple offer of help to a woman who might want to keep her child is seen as a criminal offence. I have done what I can. Now, I need your help. Without your strong financial support, an appeal will simply not be possible.”

The decision has large implications for pro-life vigils across the country, as abortion provider BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service) has been campaigning to establish ‘buffer zones’ (or more appropriately, censorship zones) outside of abortion centres. The BPAS campaign has been run on the basis of many unfounded allegations which have completely mischaracterised the activities of vigil members.

Ealing was the first council ever to use a PSPO to criminalise activities such as prayer and offers of support, and other councils have been waiting to see what the outcome is there before introducing PSPOs of their own. The Home Office has also said that it is considering national legislation that would ban pro-life vigils from outside of abortion centres, and it has been watching the developments in Ealing closely.

Sign the petition now to raise your concerns with the new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, and ask him to stop councils from banning prayer and offers of assistance outside of abortion centres.

To support Alina by giving to her legal fund visit her crowdfunding page: https://www.gofundme.com/alinalegalfun

https://www.gofundme.com/alinalegalfund

http://www.behereforme.org/

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/why-im-pro-choice-and-anti-buffer-zone/21301

https://behereforme.org/the-times-freedom-of-expression/

https://behereforme.org/high-court-challenge-press-conference/

https://behereforme.org/mother-launches-crowdfunding-campaign-to-fund-challenge-against-ealing-pspo-that-criminalises-prayer-and-support-outside-of-abortion-clinic/

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2018/1667.html

This petition has been created by a citizen or association not affiliated with CitizenGO. CitizenGO is not responsible for its contents.
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Petition to: Sajid Javid (UK Home Secretary)

Dear Mr Javid,

You will have seen the news that Ealing Council has implemented a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) outside of an abortion centre on Mattock Lane that prevents members of the public from participating in pro-life vigils. It has gone as far as criminalising simple offers of help to women and has banned “any act of approval/disapproval” in relation to abortion, including prayer.

I am greatly concerned that this development will undermine our civil liberties, as the Human Rights Act 1998 guarantees the ability of all people to practise freedom of public assembly, freedom of speech freedom of religion, and freedom to share information. These foundational freedoms - essential to the functioning of a healthy democratic society - have been undermined without justification by Ealing Council in passing such a vague and broad PSPO.

I am even more concerned to see that the High Court has upheld Ealing Council’s PSPO, although I understand that this decision will be appealed by a brave mother who was herself the recipient of help outside an abortion centre.

Given that police and councils already have wide-ranging powers available to deal with any genuinely problematic behaviour outside abortion centres, it is completely unreasonable and disproportionate to institute wide-ranging censorship zones around abortion clinics through the use of PSPOs; particularly in light of the lack of arrests, injunctions, and prosecutions of vigil attendees.

Moreover, as civil rights groups have noted, implementing censorship zones in this context is in direct contravention of the principle of ‘minimal criminalisation’. This principle holds that the state should not look to criminalise its citizens unnecessarily. Criminal charges should follow proven criminal behaviour, whereas censorship zones would criminalise citizens for otherwise legal actions.

Using PSPOs to implement censorship zones outside of abortion centres is bad for society, in violation of fundamental human rights and damaging to charitable outreach. Many women have come forward to say how pro-life vigils gave them the help and support they needed to have a child that they would have otherwise aborted.

In your position as Home Secretary, I urge you to use your authority to stop councils from using PSPOs to ban offers of help outside abortion centres so that pro-life vigils can continue to support mothers who desperately want to keep their children.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Home Secretary: Stop Councils Criminalising Support Outside Abortion Centres for Women like Alina

Sign this petition now!

010,000
  5,083
 
5,083 people have signed. Help us reach 10,000 signatures.