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Mother files lawsuit against Ealing abortion clinic prayer vigil ban

Mon 30 Apr 2018
By Tola Mbakwe

A mother who was supported by a pro-life vigil outside a London abortion clinic has filed a High Court challenge against the London Borough of Ealing for banning vigils outside a clinic.

Alina Dulgheriu has launched a legal fight against a censorship zone which criminalises prayer and support outside a Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing.

The rule came into effect on 23rd April after the council claimed the vigils caused a hostile environment for the clinic's patients. It's an accusation Dulgherium, who is part of the pro-life group Be Here for Me, denies.

She said: "I never imagined that I would need to take action at the High Court of the United Kingdom, a country famous for upholding the rights that make democracy flourish.

"I never expected a local council in the UK to make a decision that violates so many human rights; the right to free speech, the right to pray, the right to receive information and the right to assemble."

The censorship zone means campaigners are not allowed to stand within 100m of the clinic. However, a designated area for vigils has been set up outside the censorship zone.

Be Here for Me
Alina with her daughter Sarah

 

Christian legal group ADF International said Ealing Council's decision is an "ideological misuse of Public Spaces Protection Orders" and presents concerns about freedom of speech.

"Ealing Council has approved a remarkably wide-ranging Public Space Protection Order that criminalises peaceful protest and otherwise lawful speech," said Laurence Wilkinson, Legal Counsel for ADF International.

"The wording used is so broad that it amounts to a complete purge of the area despite evidence that hundreds of women have been provided with practical help by pro-life volunteers. If we set a precedent that local councils can start censoring speech with which they disagree, there is no logical stopping point."

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