Abortion Protests in UK

 Public order, censorship and religious arseholes



19th September
2010
  

Free Speech Issue...

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Authorities consider Public Order Act prosecution over graphic abortion pictures on protest placard

abort67 placardAnti-abortion activists are preparing to launch a landmark freedom of expression test case after they were arrested and held in police cells for 15 hours for refusing to take down placards showing graphic images of an aborted foetus.

Andy Stephenson and Kathryn Sloane, both committed Christians, were detained after a peaceful protest outside a publicly-funded abortion clinic.

Stephenson and Sloane are both members of Abort 67 , an organisation which uses shocking images to try to deter women from going through with terminations. They believe the use of graphic imagery is critical in trying to shape public opinion and to reduce the 200,000 abortions taking place in the UK every year. The images, obtained in America are, according to the group, perfectly lawful there and in most other countries across Europe.

The pair were arrested last month as they held a banner aloft outside Wistons abortion clinic in Brighton. Police were called by a member of staff concerned that patients entering the clinic felt traumatised and upset.

Officers asked Stephenson and Sloane to take down a 7ft by 5ft placard depicting an aborted eight-week-old embryo which they duly did but only to replace it with another banner showing a 10-week-old foetus.

The pair were arrested and taken to Brighton police station where they were held until three in the morning.

The Crown Prosecution Service will decide next month whether to press charges against the pair for causing harassment, alarm or distress under the much abused catch-all Public Order Act.

Ann Furedi, the head of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service which runs the Wistons clinic, said she fully supported the right of pro-life activists to demonstrate against abortion clinics .. BUT... Furedi added: There is a distinction between freedom of expression and actions that are designed to distress people who are accessing legal, medical services.

Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the case, said: This is a test case for their democratic right to reveal what abortion really is like. In the 21st century it is not appropriate to silence and to censor those who speak out against abortion, even if the manner in which they do so is not how many would choose.

 

18th October
2010
  

Update: Free Speech Issue...

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Authorities drop Public Order Act prosecution over graphic abortion pictures on protest placard

abort67 placardTwo pro-life nutter protesters are celebrating after hearing that they will not be facing a criminal prosecution for a silent vigil outside an abortion clinic.

The two Christian protesters, Andy Stephenson and Katherine Sloane were arrested twice by police in Brighton this summer for standing outside the BPAS clinic in silent protest with a banner showing an early aborted child. The police asked them to take down their banner but on both occasions they were arrested after they refused. Stephenson tried to explain to the police that they had a lawful right to protest. On the second occasion they were held for fourteen hours at Brighton police station and questioned under caution. They have now heard that the threatened criminal prosecution against them had been dropped.

Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, said: We are really pleased that common sense has prevailed after pressure was brought to bear. It is not appropriate to silence and to censor those who speak out against abortion. The freedom to engage and provoke public debate on this matter of life and death must continue to be safeguarded.

Ann Furedi, the head of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service which runs the Wistons clinic, said she fully supported the right of pro-life activists to demonstrate against abortion clinics .. BUT... Furedi added: There is a distinction between freedom of expression and actions that are designed to distress people who are accessing legal, medical services.

 

 Update: Prosecution Unterminated...

CPS tries christians re nasty poster display for abortion clinic visitors


Link Here 17th July 2012  full story: Abortion Protests in UK...Public order, censorship and religious arseholes

abort67 posters Andy Stephenson and Kathryn Sloane will stand trial in what their supporters say will be a landmark case concerning freedom of expression.

The pair were arrested in June last year outside Wistons abortion clinic in Brighton, after they refused to take down a 7ft by 5ft illustrated banner.

They will appear before magistrates in September after the Crown Prosecution Service authorised charges against them.

Stephenson has been charged with causing harassment, alarm or distress under the Public Order Act 1986, and with obstructing a police officer by refusing to hand over the banner. Sloane faces one count of obstruction.

They are both committed Christians and members of Abort 67, a anti-abortion group which uses shocking images, obtained in America, to try to deter women from going through with terminations. Stephenson said:

We are as passionate about free speech as we are about the abortion issue. Showing these images is absolutely crucial to our campaign. We are determined to fight it all the way. All we were doing was showing what is taking place legally inside abortion clinic every day, some of which are funded by the taxpayer.

 

 Update: Trial Aborted...

Public order charges against nasty abortion posters dismissed by judge


Link Here 19th September 2012  full story: Abortion Protests in UK...Public order, censorship and religious arseholes

Abort 67 posters Two Christian pro-life campaigners are celebrating what say is a victory for free speech after being cleared of criminal charges for displaying a graphic banner outside an abortion clinic.

A District Judge dismissed the case against Andrew Stephenson and Kathryn Sloane who were arrested after unfurling 7ft banners showing aborted foetuses outside the Wistons clinic in Brighton last year.

They went on trial at Brighton magistrates' court last week accused of breaching the Public Order Act by displaying images likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress .

District Judge Nicholson ruled that there was insufficient evidence to continue with the trial. He will give his reasons today.

Claims emerged during the trial that police had been actively fishing for complaints in an effort to get rid of the campaigners. Stephenson said:

What the police have been doing in shutting us down has had a chilling effect on free speech. Hopefully, this will have a chilling effect on the police to hold back on the over-reaching application of the law.

 


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