An Australian man is risking jail time to speak out for babies in the womb.
A new Queensland pro-abortion law, slated to go into effect Dec. 3, prohibits Graham Preston and other pro-life advocates from reaching out to women outside abortion facilities, the Catholic Leader reports. If they disobey, the 63-year-old and other pro-lifers could be sent to jail for as long as a year.
Preston frequently stands outside abortion facilities in Brisbane with images of unborn babies and messages of hope to mothers considering abortion, according to the report.
This outreach, deemed “harassment and intimidation” by pro-abortion lawmakers, soon will be illegal in Queensland, but Preston said he will not stop speaking out for unborn babies.
“Just because the law has been changed it doesn’t mean we should become silent. It’s more important than ever,” Preston said. “I will continue campaigning on the streets anywhere there is traffic around – so I am not stopping altogether. One of the signs I’ve held lately reads: ‘Abortion still destroys lives.’”
He has been punished for violating abortion clinic buffer zones in other states. According to the report, Preston was fined $3,000 for violating the anti-free speech zone in Tasmania, and has been put in jail six times for speaking out against abortion.
Soon, Queensland may punish him for free speech as well. In October, the state legislature passed a radical pro-abortion law to legalize abortions for any reason up to 22 weeks of pregnancy and up to birth with the permission of two medical practitioners, The New Daily reported at the time. The legislation also establishes 150-meter buffer zones around abortion businesses to restrict pro-life outreach.
Preston said he has not given up all hope. The Australian High Court currently is considering a lawsuit challenging buffer zones in Victoria and Tasmania as violations of free speech, according to the report.
“The judges have reserved their decisions and we are just waiting to hear what their decision is,” Preston said. “If they find in our favor then these laws will have to be removed and if they find against us, well, we won’t be able to do anything against them.”
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England’s first buffer zone also is being challenged in court.
Pro-abortion government leaders across the world are trying to ban pro-life advocates from protesting and sidewalk counseling outside abortion facilities. In England, Australia and Canada especially, abortion activists are trying to essentially silence pro-lifers through buffer zone legislation.
A number of American courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have issued rulings against these anti-free speech zones. In 2014 in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts buffer zone law that prohibited pro-life free speech outside abortion facilities.
The Massachusetts law created a 35-foot buffer zone restricting pro-life advocates from speaking with people entering or exiting abortion facilities. Saying the abortion buffer zone was “inconsistent with the First Amendment,” the Supreme Court ruled that it violated the First Amendment because it “restricts access to ‘public way[s]’ and ‘sidewalk[s],’ places that have traditionally been open for speech activities.”
However, the high court’s decision did not apply to all buffer zones. Pro-lifers are involved in several on-going lawsuits challenging buffer zones in other cities across the U.S.