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Abortion protestors prosecuted - the very day the same action saves the life of a 22-week-old baby

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Issued on behalf of Christian Legal Centre

Press Release

For Immediate Release

1 February 2012

Abortion protestors prosecuted - the very day the same action saves the life of a 22-week-old baby

TWO CHRISTIAN pro-life campaigners faced the start of prosecution proceedings on Monday for holding signs showing the effects of abortion on the unborn and refusing to take them down. The very same day, the pair's colleagues protested in the same way outside an abortion clinic - and their actions saved the life of a 22-week-old baby.

Andy Stephenson and Kathryn Sloane entered a not-guilty plea on 30 January at Brighton Magistrates' Court, after being arrested for a demonstration outside an abortion clinic in Brighton on 22 June 2011. Since 2007, Mr Stephenson and Mrs Sloane have been silently witnessing outside the publically-funded BPAS abortion clinic showing pictures of the effects of abortion, only engaging in conversation with women entering the premises if they start a conversation.

The pair pleaded 'not guilty' to the charge under the Public Order Act, arguing that the banners are "necessary to educate pregnant girls and women against the 'misleading' information given at the BPAS clinic".

Mr Stephenson, a father-of-three and a carpenter from Worthing in East Sussex, said: "We went to the Brighton clinic because we know what women are going in there for and it seems the obvious place to hold a protest. We had no desire to be arrested but we sincerely believe this is a legal form of demonstration. We were taken to the local police station where we were treated like common criminals."

Whilst Stephenson and Sloane were in court, colleagues of the pair (members of the Pro-Life group 'Abort67') held a further demonstration outside the BPAS Brighton clinic. One woman attending the clinic that afternoon for the planned termination of a 22-week-old baby engaged in conversation with them and as a result of talking and seeing the pictures, changed her mind on having the abortion.

Both Mr Stephenson and Mrs Sloane are being supported by the Christian Legal Centre. Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of the CLC said: "This is a key test case for freedom of speech which could affect us all. Andy and Kathryn hold respectful demonstrations and they should not be denied the right to share their viewpoint to others. It is important that their freedom of speech is robustly defended.

"They are showing pictures of the reality of abortions to women who are entering the clinic to have an abortion without being given a real opportunity to reflect on their actions for the baby and their own future well-being.

"As Monday's actions showed, one woman changed her mind; she chose life. That's why free speech is vital in a democracy. It gives an opportunity for people to reflect and think again and perhaps change their minds having heard all the facts."

ENDS

For further information / interview:
Andrea Minichiello Williams (CEO Christian Concern): 07712591164

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