Campaigners to appeal abortion image ban

7 May 2020

District Judge Jonathan Radway has ruled that an image of abortion, showing the consequences of local MP Stella Creasy’s extreme support for abortion, is ‘sickening’ and ‘horrific’ as he upheld a ban on showing the image publicly in Walthamstow, London.

Pro-life campaigner Christian Hacking, of the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform UK (CBR UK), was given a Community Protection Notice (CPN), banning him from showing large images of unborn babies in the borough of Waltham Forest. The CPN was issued after Christian took part in a CBR UK display during its #Stop Stella campaign. The campaign sought to expose the tragic reality of abortion and inform Stella Creasy’s constituents of her extreme abortion proposals.

However, while the MP mounted a public attack on members of CBR UK for supposedly ‘harassing’ her with the images, the banners were confiscated by councillors in an action that the council has now admitted was unlawful.

The judgment finds that the CPN did interfere with Christian’s article 10 rights to freedom of expression, but that this was justified because some members of the public found the images disturbing.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Christian now intends to appeal the decision.

‘Authorities must be held to account’

Commenting on the outcome, Christian said, “I am deeply disappointed that our appeal to show the reality of abortion to the people of Waltham Forest has not been successful.

“The real victim of abortion is not MP Stella Creasy, or the those negatively impacted by its visualisation, but the unborn child.

“How can we see positive change in the UK if politicians and councils are allowed to dictate how we express peaceable opinions in public?

“For the sake of the unborn and for freedom of speech we must take this appeal further and hold those authorities to account.”

Abortion ‘immune to criticism’

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “The judgment says that this case ‘is not about the rights and wrongs of abortion’. But it is impossible to disentangle this distressing image from the disturbing reality it shows.

“The ruling hinges on the idea that this image, showing the tragic reality of abortion, causes significant and lasting emotional harm.

“But however uncomfortable the truth, we must be free to make these distressing realities known – or the vastly more horrific truth of abortion becomes immune to criticism.

“There is a high bar to restricting free speech. Freedom of speech must include, and has been ruled in law to include, that which is shocking, provocative and offensive. Political campaigns are often shocking and disturbing. Graphic images of cancers are used in government advertising to persuade people not to smoke, for example. Abortion is by its nature a graphic deed. It is a bloody destruction of a human life. This is what was being exposed.

“The argument that some people found this image disturbing does not amount to an argument that they should not be allowed for political speech.”

Find out more about Christian Hacking
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