A British pro-life group was kicked out of a community fair Sunday after local government leaders claimed its fetal model display was “inappropriate.”
Life organizers said they are considering legal action after the “authoritarian and discriminatory removal” of their display Sunday from the Lambeth Country Show.
About 150,000 people attend the fair every year, which is advertised as London’s biggest free, family-oriented festival. Life applied for a booth in January. After submitting information and photos about the appearance of their booth and the information they would provide, the organization received approval from the fair organizers and paid the charity stall fee, the pro-life group said in a news release.
Life’s booth included photos of babies in the womb, fetal models and information about pregnancy and parenting support. They also made it clear that they were there to discuss life and support services, not abortion.
“Nothing on our stall was offensive,” said Anne Scanlan, director of education for Life. “There were life-like fetal models and pictures of the unborn baby at different gestational stages which can be seen on any pregnancy website including the NHS.”
Their outreach went well Saturday, and many people responded positively to the information they provided, the group said. In the evening, however, they said a few fairgoers became “aggressively vocal” about abortion with their volunteers.
When Life staff and volunteers returned Sunday morning, they said their booth had been torn down. The fair organizers apologized and said the Lambeth Council made the decision to remove the booth because it went “against the values” of the council, according to Life.
Ed Davie, a Lambeth Council member, said the pro-life booth was not on the approved list of exhibitors, the Evening Standard reports. However, Life organizers said this is not true, and they have the paperwork to prove it.
The Lambeth Council later tweeted that it removed the booth because it was “booked using inaccurate information,” but it did not provide any more details about the alleged inaccuracies.
Davie also claimed the booth made women who have had abortions feel bad.
“It’s a community festival – that includes women who have had to make really hard family planning decisions who don’t want plastic fetuses in their faces,” he wrote on Twitter.
Scanlan said they never are pushy with the information they provide. Instead, she said they strive to reach out in a compassionate and caring way.
“At a time when there is a clamor for free speech and allowing dissenting voices to be heard, we have a local council aggressively shutting down the voice of pro-lifers trying to reach out to vulnerable women in crisis and educating people about life in the womb,” Scanlan said.
“Our message at Life is delivered in a compassionate and caring way. Councils which try to shut down and silence pro-life organizations like Life must recognize that they are doing a disservice to women in crisis who may need our help,” she continued. “Lambeth Council reportedly said we are against their values. We are curious to know what these values are and look forward to hearing a fuller and more detailed explanation, and hopefully an apology from the council for the distress caused to our Life staff and volunteers.”