A British man has been fined for praying in his mind for his deceased son within a so-called safety zone around an abortion clinic.
Family man and Army veteran Adam Smith-Connor was near the British Pregnancy Advisory Service abortion clinic in Bournemouth on November 24, 2022, where he came to pray for his deceased son. His son lost his life during an abortion there more than two decades ago.
Smith-Connor stood with his back to the clinic that day, praying in his mind for his son. To community safety officers who approached him about his stay near the clinic, he stated that he was praying for his deceased son. The officers then declared that he was violating the requirements of the safety zone around the abortion clinic and fined him.
The so-called safe zones prohibit any activity or attempt to express approval or disapproval with regard to abortions. These include, but are not limited to, “graphic, oral or written means, prayer or counseling,” as well as religious acts such as reading the Bible or making the sign of the cross.
“No one should be criminalized for their beliefs–especially if they express those beliefs in silence, in the privacy of their own thoughts. Just as in the case of Isabel Vaughan-Spruce last month, Adam could now be prosecuted for harboring thoughts within a censorship zone and carrying those thoughts to God in prayer. The rapid proliferation of orders criminalizing volunteers like Adam and Isabel should be a wake-up call to all who value freedom of expression–including freedom of thought–regardless of their views on abortion,” said Jeremiah Igunnubole, legal counsel for ADF UK.
Regarding the situation, Smith-Connor commented:
“Twenty-two years ago, I drove my ex-girlfriend to a facility and paid for her abortion. That was a defining moment in my life. The consequences of my actions that day caught up with me years later when I realized I had lost my son Jacob to an abortion I had paid for. Recently, I stood outside a similar facility and prayed to God for my son Jacob, for other babies who lost their lives to abortion, for their grieving families, and for the abortion clinic staff.”
“I never imagined being in the position of risking a criminal record because I pray silently. I used to assist with abortions in the hospital as part of my medical training in the Army, but now I pray for those who perform abortions because I know how harmful abortion is to women and families and that every single human life is precious–no matter how small. But above all, I am moved to pray for the fate of my son Jacob,” said the family man.
At the end of December, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, an employee of a British pro-life organization, had already been arrested for praying silently in front of an abortion organization. ADF UK will also provide legal support in this case.
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