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More scrutiny needed over power to ban prayers – A commentary on public spaces protection orders and their potential for abuse

Public spaces protection orders used against pro-life campaigners are ripe for a legal challenge, Laurence Wilkinson wrote in an opinion piece for The Times.

Ealing council in London will consider implementing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) this evening that will make it a criminal offence to pray outside the Marie Stopes clinic on Mattock Lane. More generally, the order will make it a crime to engage in ‚any act of approval/disapproval or attempted act of approval/disapproval, with respect to issues related to abortion services, by any means.‘

In his analysis, he expresses concern that PSPOs often serve to ‘cleaning up the streets rather than dealing with anti-social behaviour.’

PSPOs often serve to cleaning up the streets rather than dealing with anti-social behaviour.

The PSPO in Ealing is the result of a coordinated campaign to ban any pro-life protest from outside the clinic. Along with criminalising prayer about abortion, it will also prevent charities from offering support to pregnant women who want to continue with their pregnancy.

Read the full article The Times or Behereforme.org.

*Laurence Wilkinson serves as Legal Counsel for ADF International and is based in London

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