A man from Southampton, U.K., has been fined for praying near an abortion facility in Bournemouth.
Adam Smith-Connor, a British army veteran, stood still and silent on Ophir Road, a public street, for a few minutes before being approached by “community safety accredited officers,” according to an article at adf.uk, the U.K. office of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is supporting the physiotherapist.
Smith-Connor had been praying outside a British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) clinic with his back to the facility in order to be mindful of the privacy of staff and attendees of the abortion center, according to ADF.
He recorded his conversation with the officers and shared footage with ADF UK. After repeatedly being asked what the nature of his prayer was, Smith-Connor told authorities he was praying for his son who died by abortion 22 years ago, a decision that still haunts him to this day.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
The officers warned him he was in an area under a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which establishes a “safe zone” around abortion clinics and prohibits “engaging in any act of approval/disapproval,” including praying. The abortion clinic in Bournemouth is the fifth one in the country to have this type of censorship zone, according to local news reports.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” the council officer told Smith-Connor. “But ultimately, I have to go along with the guidelines of the Public Space Protection Order, to say that we are in the belief that therefore you are in breach of clause 4a, which says about prayer, and also acts of disapproval …”
When Smith-Connor interjected, “I’m just standing praying,” she again responded, “I do understand that. But the PSPO is in place for a reason and we have to follow through on those regulations.”
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