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German high court smacks down ban on peaceful protests within vicinity of abortion clinics: ‘Truly relieved’

A high court in Germany recently lifted bans that prohibit peaceful prayer gatherings outside abortion clinics, ruling they violate constitutional rights.

The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, which is one of five federal supreme courts in Germany, ruled last week that blanket bans on prayerful protests outside abortion clinics impinge upon the freedom of assembly guaranteed in the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, which was ratified in 1949.

The ruling marks a landmark legal victory for a Pforzheim-based chapter of 40 Days for Life, a pro-life group headed up by Pavica Vojnovic, according to the Christian Post.

The group was assisted in its legal battle by the international chapter of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

“The court in Leipzig has once again made clear that peaceful prayer vigils cannot be banned,” said Dr. Felix Bollmann, who serves as director of European advocacy for ADF International. “In view of the clear findings of the court, the federal government would be well advised to abandon its plans to massively restrict fundamental rights in the vicinity of abortion organizations.”

PRO-LIFE ACTIVIST SUES TO END ANTI-PROTEST ZONE AROUND ABORTION CLINICS: ‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL’

Pavica Vojnović prays at a pro-life vigil

Pavica Vojnovic, leader of a German chapter of 40 Days for Life, prays at a pro-life vigil. (Alliance Defending Freedom International)

The city of Pforzheim pushed back against a regional court decision from last August, which ruled in favor of the organization’s right to peaceful protest.

40 Days for Life gathered twice annually to conduct silent prayer vigils outside a Planned Parenthood offshoot in Pforzheim. In 2019, authorities in the city banned the organization from demonstrating within sight of the abortion clinic across a four-lane highway, which Vojnovic argued was a violation of the right to assembly.

Germany’s Federal Minister for Family Affairs Lisa Paus has reportedly been advocating for buffer zones around abortion clinics in the country, which effectively bans prayer vigils and counseling within proximity of such facilities.

Paus has articulated her desire to roll out measures to legally clamp down on prayer and counseling near abortion clinics and has also expressed support for repealing the section of the German criminal code that regulates abortions.

“I’m truly relieved,” Vojnovic said of the most recent court ruling, according to the Christian Post. “Our prayers really help, as affected women have told us over and over. I am grateful that we can continue our prayer vigils. Every human life is precious and deserves protection.”

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR SILENT PRAYER OUTSIDE ABORTION CLINIC NOTCHES LEGAL WIN BUT STILL FACES POTENTIAL CHARGES

Skyline of Leipzig, Germany

The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, which is one of five federal supreme courts in Germany, ruled last week that blanket bans on prayerful protests outside abortion clinics impinge upon the freedom of assembly. (Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Laws prohibiting protest within the vicinity of an abortion clinic have stoked legal backlash throughout the Western world.

Pro-life activist Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, twice arrested in the United Kingdom for silently praying outside an abortion clinic in Birmingham, England, reportedly scored a legal victory after the West Midlands police loosened her bail conditions that restricted her from being within a certain radius of an abortion clinic. She still faces potential prosecution, according to the U.K. chapter of Alliance Defending Freedom.

Portrait of Isabel Vaughan-Spruce

Isabel Vaughan-Spruce was arrested this year for praying silently outside an abortion clinic in Birmingham, England. (Alliance Defending Freedom UK)

Wendy Faustin filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Colorado this month against Democrat Colorado Gov. Jared Polis as well as other state and local officials with regard to a 1993 “bubble law” that she alleges violates the First Amendment and her 14th Amendment right to equal protection.

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Roger Byron, lead counsel in Faustin’s case, told Fox News Digital he hopes the precedent set in Canada, where bubble laws have been extended to drag shows, does not trickle down to the U.S., though he worries that such laws could eventually expand to encompass ideologies beyond abortion.

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