A British pro-life group that was kicked out of a community fair for displaying scientific images of life in the womb filed a lawsuit against the Lambeth Council on Friday.
Life, a British group focused on providing life-affirming information and resources to pregnant and parenting mothers, is suing the council for defamation, breach of contract and interference with their right to freedom of expression, the group announced this week.
“When our right to celebrate the very start of human life is denied we have no choice but to stand up to those who wish to trample on freedom of expression,” Director of Education Anne Scanlan said. “The actions of Lambeth Council represent a grave injustice which must be challenged if we are to continue to defend the right to life of the unborn child and promote support for the thousands of women who need our help in crisis pregnancies.”
Earlier this year, the pro-life group applied for and received permission to set up a booth at the Lambeth Country Show, which is advertised as London’s biggest free, family-oriented festival.
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.
Their outreach went well the first day of the July fair, and many people responded positively to the information they provided, the group said. In the evening, however, they said a few fair-goers became “aggressively vocal” about abortion with their volunteers.
When Life staff and volunteers returned the next 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, claimed 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.
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“Following our ejection the Council and one of its councillors made false and misleading statements about Life’s presence at the show,” the pro-life group said this week. “They have now accepted that those statements were inaccurate and suggested that we were ejected from the show because of our use of foetal models on the stall.”
In a legal letter sent by Life’s solicitors Friday, the group informed Lambeth Council of prospective claims against it for libel and the unlawful interference with Life’s right to freedom of expression, contrary to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The pro-life group said it would like a public correction and apology from the council, assurance that the council will not interfere unlawfully with freedom of expression in the future and compensation for harm to the charity.
“Public displays of information about pregnancy expose the choice of abortion as a choice to end the life of an unborn child,” Scanlan said. “Through the provision of practical support, we are promoting real, life-affirming choices, empowering women to continue with their pregnancy. This is what women need and deserve and we will continue to stand with them as we have done for 48 years.”