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A pro-life group has launched legislation against Birmingham City Council for the implementation of a “buffer zone” against what they say is illegal silent prayer outside an abortion clinic in the city.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, 45, who leads the group 40 Days for Life Birmingham, will pursue a legal review of the council’s decision to introduce an Order Public Appointments (PSPO) in September. 2022 near the Robert Clinic in Kings Norton, Birmingham.

Often used for violent and criminal matters, PSPOs create buffer zones, a tool that allows local authorities to prevent certain anti-social behavior from occurring in a particular area. region.

“Protected zone” means an area within a radius of 150 meters from an area of ​​an abortion clinic or an access point to a building or area containing an abortion clinic. Breach of the PSPO can lead to penalty notices or penalties.

The Robert Clinic is managed by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the leading provider of abortion services in the UK with 40 abortion clinics and sexual health centers in England, Wales, and Scotland.

Epoch Times Photo
Image of a map of the buffer zone around the Robert Clinic abortion clinic in Kings Norton, Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Courtesy of Christian Law Center)

The legislative body is challenging the PSPO’s authority, with lawyers “saying the council has overstepped its authority.”

They argue that the council did not have the authority to impose the PSPO because “the officers were wrongly seeking to prevent peaceful and lawless behavior that could not be described as “anti-social”, and evidence.

The lawyers also argue that the PSPO is “unreasonable” and violates Vaughan-Spruce’s human rights under articles 9 (freedom of thought, conscience, and religion) and 10 (freedom of expression speech) and 11 (freedom of assembly and assembly) of the European Union. Conference on Human Rights.

They will also ask the High Court to declare that the PSPO is “unfair, unfair and intrusive on the rights of Vaughan-Spruce and other beneficiaries.”


Vaughan-Spruce told The Epoch Times that her team’s efforts have been “swirling.”

He said that more than 100 women have accepted their help. Their program lasts 40 consecutive days and is held twice a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Volunteers are currently in groups of two to four at a time. The group claims that there are no placards, banners or garlands and the artists are not carrying megaphones.

He added that the council had not shown them any signs of being “rebellious or hostile.”

“There’s a real need to celebrate what’s happening,” he said.

“The definition of the words has been changed, because the broadcast is now a harassment, a prayer is a protest, the presence is a threat. There must be objective measures of serious wrongdoing, persecution, and terrorism. Or we will stop silencing anyone who disagrees with us,” he said.

Andrea Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, said in a statement, “The purpose of the PSPO is to criminalize the 40-day operation in Birmingham and create an environment where discussion of abortion is not allowed. , or for praying for abortion. .”

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council told The Epoch Times via email: “We have received a legal challenge to the Public Space Conservation Order which was introduced in a defined area around the Robert Clinic in Station Road, Kings Norton.”

“As it is currently under review, it is not necessary to comment further at this time,” he added.

Detention Zone Act

In October, UK MPs backed proposals to make anti-abortion protests and vigils around clinics a criminal offense in England and Wales, in addition to PSPOs.

An amendment to the Public Policy Bill to introduce buffer zones around abortion clinics has been backed by a group of MPs.

The amendment includes prohibitions on “inducing,” “counseling,” “persuading,” and “expressing opinion.”

The Conservative government’s bill was designed to strengthen police powers to stop the disruptive practices of climate activists such as Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil, and Insulate Britain.

If passed, anyone in a protected area who tries to influence a woman’s decision could face criminal charges and up to six months in jail for a first offense or two years for others. other sins.

Meanwhile, Katherine O’Brien, associate director of communications and campaigns at BPAS, told The Epoch Times via email that the current laws “do not deal well with the protests of the abortion clinic, but no.”

O’Brien said PSPOs are not a permanent solution.

“They create a chain of custody that other women can’t access without being harassed. It’s expensive to get involved and support in court, and the risk is lower. of counties to participate,” he said.

Owen Evans

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Owen Evans is a UK journalist covering a wide range of national news, with a focus on human rights and free speech.


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