Fined for standing in abortion censorship zone

A pro-life campaigner has been fined by West Midlands Police for standing near an abortion centre in Birmingham.

Sebastian Vaughan-Spruce was handed a Fixed Penalty Notice by Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) after they claimed his conduct was in breach of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

The council-imposed censorship zone prohibits individuals from “engaging in any act of approval or disapproval” in relation to abortion, including “prayer or counselling”.

Thought crime

In video footage obtained by March for Life UK, Mr Vaughan-Spruce is quizzed by two PCSOs concerning his presence on the pavement near the abortion centre.

Although he states that he is not protesting or praying, one of the officers informs Mr Vaughan-Spruce that he is in breach of the PSPO because he is “stood in the zone”, and proceeds to issue a “ticket”.

Mr Vaughan-Spruce said it was “wrong that I was interrogated, and issued a penalty” and added that ‘buffer zone’ regulations “are now being misused to punish people for ‘wrong thinking’ in a public space in the UK”.

UK legislation

MPs at Westminster backed the introduction of nationwide censorship zones in England and Wales last year, although these have not yet come into force.

The Scottish Parliament has recently backed proposals to impose censorship zones that will ban any pro-life witness within 200 meters of abortion centres in Scotland. This includes silent prayer and offering assistance to women seeking abortions.

Last year, censorship zones criminalising anyone who hands out pro-life literature or speaks to anyone about abortion within a 100-250m radius of an abortion clinic or hospital were introduced in Northern Ireland.

Also see:

Baby foot

Ireland rejects safeguards as abortion censorship zones pushed through

‘Buffer zones pose threat to religious freedom’, pro-lifers warn MSPs

Abortion censorship zones come into force in NI