Richmond Council taken to High Court over buffer zone banning pro-life vigils.

May 24, 2019 by

from SPUC:

“I will challenge the PSPO in Richmond for mothers who need help in the future, at the place they need it most.”

Legal proceedings have been launched in the High Court against Richmond Council to challenge a controversial Public Space Protection Order (“PSPO”) around an abortion clinic on Rosslyn Road.

This buffer zone makes it a criminal offence to, among other things, pray or have conversations about abortion. The legal challenge has been brought by Justyna Pasek, who has personally supported women visiting the abortion clinic in Richmond for over five years, offering them alternatives to abortion.

Criminalising “Directed” Prayer

In March, Richmond Council voted unanimously to ratify an earlier decision to implement the PSPO and so ban the peaceful pro-life prayer vigil primarily run by the Good Counsel Network.

Richmond is the second council after Ealing to use a PSPO (which replaced ASBOs) to prevent people praying and offering help to women outside an abortion clinic. Like at Ealing, concerns have been raised by Liberty and other organisations about the provisions of the order being too broad and too vague to render it proportionate. The PSPO makes it a criminal offence to make any offer of help to women on Rosslyn Road, and bans “directed” prayer and counselling.

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