New Challenge to Abortion Clinic Exclusion Zone

Appeal being made to European Court of Human Rights

New Challenge to Abortion Clinic Exclusion Zone
Pro-choice protestors outside Marie Stopes Clinic. (Picture: Peter Gould)

An appeal is being made to the European Court of Human Rights against the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) obtained by Ealing Council outside an abortion facility.

The applicant, Alina Dulgheriu, claims the PSPO criminalises speech, assembly, charitable support, and prayer, including silent prayer.

She had previously applied to the Supreme Court in the UK for permission to appeal the PSPO but this was declined in March. The Court of Appeal had ruled that her rights to assembly, religion, thought, expression and reception of information were violated by the Ealing Council but that this was justified by the right of Marie Stopes attendees not to be seen in public space near the facility.

Alina Dulgheriu met a pro-life volunteer at the gates of the abortion centre which she had visited during an unwanted pregnancy. She was persuaded to keep her child. The Be Here For Me group say that many women have been helped by the vigils outside the clinic.

She said: “My little girl is here today because of the real practical and emotional support that I was given by a group outside a Marie Stopes centre, and I am going to appeal this decision to ensure that women do not have this vital support option removed. I will continue to stand up for the women whose voices have been side-lined throughout this process and for women who need life-saving support today but cannot get it.

“Ealing Council could have taken action in a way that would have protected women and safeguarded the essential help offered at the gate. Instead, they criminalised charity and attempted to remove dedicated and caring individuals from public space without justification.”

Alina Dulgheriu
Alina Dulgheriu

Groups such as Sister Supporter persuaded Ealing Council to institute the PSPO and its members have held counter protests in the area against the actions of the pro-life campaigners. They say women seeking the clinics services should be free from interference and intimidation.

May 13, 2020