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UK Court of Appeal grants leave to challenge Buffer Zones outside abortion clinics

UK Court of Appeal grants leave to challenge Buffer Zones outside abortion clinics

The UK Court of Appeal in London has granted Leave to Alina Dulgheriu of the Be Here for Me Campaign , a group of Mothers who were helped by vigil members outside abortion clinics to challenge the legality of an order by Ealing Council in London banning a group of Pro Life Volunteers named the Good Counsel Network from standing outside a Marie Stopes abortion clinic on Mattock Lane . 
 
The Council had created a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) normally used for anti social behaviour to crack down on the volunteers who had been operating outside the clinic for the past 23 years offering help and support to women in crisis pregnancy . Under the Councils Order any act of approval/disapproval with respect to issues related to abortion services by any means graphic, verbal or written , prayer or counselling is strictly prohibited . 

 
Last July , The High Court upheld the Councils order .  Although the High Court found that fundamental rights had been infringed through the implementation of the censorship zone, it ultimately decided to uphold the PSPO, and ordered Ms. Dulgheriu to pay Ealing Council’s legal costs . 
 
Ms Dulgheriu subsequently launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay her legal costs and appeal the high courts decision which raised over £50,000 in less than 3 months. In January , The Court of Appeal granted Leave to Ms Dulgheriu to challenge the High Court ruling . 
 
A recent review by the UK Government found that out of 363 hospitals and clinics in England and Wales that carried out abortions in 2017 , 36 clinics experienced anti abortion activities and the majority were passive in nature .
 
Rejecting calls to introduce Nationwide buffer zones , Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that protest-free areas around clinics in England and Wales "would not be a proportionate response" because cases of harassment were "not the norm" . He said laws already existed such as the Public Order Act 1986 to prevent harassment, adding - "In this country, it is a long-standing tradition that people are free to gather together and to demonstrate their views. "This is something to be rightly proud of" ..."Having considered the evidence of the review, I have therefore reached the conclusion that introducing national buffer zones would not be a proportionate response, considering the experiences of the majority of hospitals and clinics, and considering that the majority of activities are more passive in nature." 
 
 

Below Alina Dulgheriu with her daughter Sarah outside Court . 
 
 
 
Below: Pro Life Activists from the Good Counsel Network outside Abortion Clinic in Ealing
   

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Interesting Case to follow , Irish Courts will usually arrive at the same determinations as the UK Courts , Freedom of expression and assembly are fundamental rights in any democracy . I expect a similar challenge will be brought before the Irish Courts as a number of councils are planning to impose similar bans here. I mean if they get away with it , you can ban any form of protest . mad really stuff thats happening
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