Press Release: Alina Dulgheriu will apply to appeal London’s first ‘censorship zone’ to the European Court of Human Rights. Criminalises, speech, assembly, charitable support, prayer.

 In Be Here For Me

Press Release: Alina Dulgheriu will apply to appeal London’s first ‘censorship zone’ to the European Court of Human Rights. Criminalises, speech, assembly, charitable support, prayer.

Alina Dulgheriu announces her appeal of London’s first Public Space Protection Order outside an abortion facility to the European Court of Human Rights. The PSPO criminalises speech, assembly, charitable support, and prayer, including silent prayer.  

Alina Dulgheriu had applied to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal an Ealing Council PSPO (Public Space Protection Order) that prevents women from receiving any charitable assistance outside abortion facilities. On March 10th 2020, the Supreme Court refused permission to appeal. 

The appeal to the Supreme Court followed a Court of Appeal decision (August 2019) that found Alina’s rights to assembly, religion, thought, expression and reception of information were violated by the Ealing Council. Despite this, the Court of Appeal ruled that such violations were justified because of the right of Marie Stopes attendees not to be seen in public space near the facility. 

Alina’s legal team are working on her application to the European Court of Human Rights, which marks the final court of appeal for her case. ECHR  judgements affect around 800 million people across Europe, including the United Kingdom. 

Her cause has been enabled by hundreds of donors who have contributed over £65,000 to her legal fund

Alina has challenged the Ealing censorship zone because it prevents the help women need to escape an unwanted or coerced abortion. The broadly-worded Ealing PSPO criminalises, among other activities:

  • Any act whatsoever of approval or disapproval regarding abortion
  • Prayer, including silent prayer
  • Handing out leaflets with an offer of practical support to women who wish to keep their child
  • ‘Interfering’ with a clinic user in any way whatsoever

Prominent human rights campaigners such as Peter Tatchell and Liberty have expressed great concern about the ease with which PSPOs allow councils to override basic civil liberties. PSPOs are controversial as they allow local authorities to impose criminal sanctions without a criminal burden of proof. 

Alina Dulgheriu, who has brought legal action against Ealing Council said: “My little girl is here today because of the real practical and emotional support that I was given by a group outside a Marie Stopes centre, and I am going to appeal this decision to ensure that women do not have this vital support option removed.

I will continue to stand up for the women whose voices have been sidelined throughout this process and for women who need life-saving support today but cannot get it. 

Ealing Council could have taken action in a way that would have protected women and safeguarded the essential help offered at the gate. Instead, they criminalised charity and attempted to remove dedicated and caring individuals from public space without justification.

It is very clear that many are opposed to Ealing’s ban on peaceful and charitable activity, and like me, they want to see support available to vulnerable women where it is most needed. 

I cannot imagine a society where a simple offer of help to a woman who might want to keep her child is seen as a criminal offence. I refuse to accept that women should be denied the opportunity to receive help where they want to keep their child.”

Elizabeth Howard, Be Here For Me spokesperson said: 

“Eight years ago, Alina Dulgheriu found herself jobless, homeless and alone after an unplanned pregnancy. She’d been fired from her job as a live-in nanny and abandoned by her boyfriend. 

She went to Marie Stopes to get advice on her options, but all they could offer her was an abortion. She didn’t want that but didn’t know where to turn.

Her life was changed when she met a pro-life volunteer at the gates of the abortion centre who told her that she did have options, that there was help available, and that she could keep her baby if she wanted.

She accepted the offer of help and her daughter Sarah was born. She is now seven years old, a beautiful, lively and beloved child.

Ealing Council has banned pro-lifers from helping women like Alina. Alina has challenged their decision in court, but three times the courts have ignored her story.

In five years of the pro-life vigil’s work in Ealing, more than 500 women accepted an offer of help and chose to keep their baby rather than have an abortion. These women have tried again and again to have their voices heard, but they are ignored.”

Clare Mulvany, Be Here For Me spokesperson said: 

“The mothers of Be Here for Me are angry that their own experiences, and the help they have sought to pass on to others in their shoes, have been ignored and denied. 

We share their anger and deep resolve. 

No one can claim to uphold a right to choose whilst supporting the stripping away of all but one choice. 

These women and their powerful stories must be made more visible. 

Alina is resolute.

We understand that she intends to appeal and she has our full support in this”.

Three women have gone public with their stories in a video (https://youtu.be/03xLOhUSr2o) where they tell of the immense pressure they faced to go ahead with a termination; how they were helped by vigils outside an abortion clinic; and why they are calling for the public to oppose censorship zones. Many more women helped by vigils have shared their own personal stories on the www.behereforme.org website. 

 

ENDS

 

Leave a Comment