Priest faces legal uncertainty after praying outside a closed abortion clinic
A Catholic priest is pursuing a clear verdict as he potentially faces charges for praying silently outside a closed abortion clinic, holding a sign calling for free speech and displaying a pro-life bumper sticker on his car, his legal team says.
The legal nonprofit ADF UK announced in a statement Thursday that Father Sean Gough, a Catholic priest based in Birmingham, England, had faced charges of “intimidating service-users” of an abortion clinic covered by a Public Spaces Protection Order.
The Crown Prosecution Service ultimately dropped the charges but informed Gough that the charges could re-materialize at any point in the future. This led Gough to “pursue a clear verdict on his charges in court in order to clear his name.”
The protection order prohibits people from “protesting, namely engaging in any act of approval or disapproval or attempted act of approval or disapproval, with respect to issues related to abortion services, by any means” in the area surrounding the BPAS Roberts Clinic.
Gough held a sign reading “praying for free speech” in the vicinity of the abortion clinic, which was closed at the time. He also faced a charge for parking his car, with a bumper sticker proclaiming “unborn lives matter,” near the abortion facility.