The U.K. High Court upheld a special order that criminalizes prayer and Scripture reading in front of an abortion clinic in Bournemouth, England, according to court documents.
According to the BBC, Christian campaigners lost a legal challenge regarding the enforcement of a Public Spaces Protection Order banning prayers outside the abortion clinic. The local governing authority, the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, imposed a safe zone around the abortion clinic in October 2022.
The PCP Council began receiving reports of “alarm and distress” caused by protesters outside the clinic in 2017, Lord Justice Warby and Mrs. Justice Thompson, the two judges who issued the ruling, wrote. In response to the reports, the PSPO was put in place.
The petition to challenge the PSPO was spearheaded by two Christian groups, 40 Days for Life and Christian Concern, who argued that the order banned what they called “peaceful and lawful behavior.”
However, the judges were unsympathetic to these arguments and concluded that there was evidence to demonstrate that the protests caused harm.
“It is, in our judgment, naïve and simplistic to suggest that activities of this kind in this context cannot be considered ‘detrimental’… just because they are silent,” Warby and Thompson wrote.
They argued that any interference with human rights was “justified by the legitimate aim of protecting the rights of women attending the clinic, their associates and the staff.”
Christian Concern decried the High Court’s ruling in a statement issued on its website.
Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said that the organization plans to appeal the ruling.
“Peaceful witness near abortion centers are helpful to many women in crisis pregnancies, offering genuine choice by providing support. Whatever the guidance or law says, arresting peaceful pro-lifers in these zones clearly breaches their human rights,” Williams stated.
Livia Tossici-Bolt, who leads 40 Days for Life in Bournemouth, noted that the group was “very disappointed by the judge’s ruling and will continue to support women in crisis pregnancies and will continue to fight for justice.”
Abortion has become a renewed hot topic issue around the globe since the U.S. Supreme Court issued the landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June 2022, in which the justices ruled that abortion is not a fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Evidently, the U.K., which allows abortion to take within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy if two doctors approve, is trending towards placing abortion on a higher pedestal over rights such as freedom of religion or speech.
However, judges place themselves in precarious positions when they vow to protect one right at the expense of others. The High Court’s ruling demonstrates that, when legal issues are not concretely defined, some judges will use the opportunity to impose their own personal beliefs.
Unfortunately, the law can be fragile in the hands of the wrong individual.
But the silver lining in all of this is the resilience shown by the Christian organizations and their steadfast commitment to protecting unborn lives.
And historically, suppression and bans of religion only seem to strengthen the faith of the respective leaders.
After all, Christians were persecuted mercilessly in the early days of the Roman Empire. Yet, they remained steadfast in their faith, and within a few hundred years, Christianity became the largest religion in the world.
So in this instance, the Christian groups may have lost a battle in the fight against abortion. However, let’s hope that will only serve to invigorate the desire to put an end to the greatest evil of our time.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.