Sunday, September 19, 2010

Anti-abortion activists arrested over graphic banner

Anti-abortion activists are preparing to launch a landmark freedom of expression test case after they were arrested and held in police cells for 15 hours for refusing to take down placards showing graphic images of an aborted foetus.
Andy Stephenson, 35, and Kathryn Sloane, 19, both committed Christians, were detained after a peaceful protest outside a publicly-funded abortion clinic.

The Crown Prosecution Service will decide next month whether to press charges against the pair for causing 'harassment, alarm or distress' under the Public Order Act.
Mr Stephenson and Miss Sloane are both members of Abort '67, an organisation which uses shocking images to try to deter women from going through with terminations.

They believe the use of graphic imagery is critical in trying to shape public opinion and to reduce the 200,000 abortions taking place in the UK every year.

The images, obtained in America are, according to the group, perfectly lawful there and in most other countries across Europe.

The pair were arrested last month as they held a banner aloft outside Wistons abortion clinic in Brighton.

Police were called by a member of staff concerned that patients entering the clinic felt traumatised and upset.

Officers asked Mr Stephenson and Miss Sloane to take down a 7ft by 5ft placard depicting an aborted eight-week-old embryo – which they duly did but only to replace it with another banner showing a 10-week-old foetus.

The pair were arrested and taken to Brighton police station where they were held until three in the morning. Read More

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