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UK man fined for silently praying outside abortion clinic: report


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A UK man was reportedly fined after he admitted he was praying in front of an abortion clinic.

Adam Smith-Connor, a physiotherapist and army veteran from Southampton shared video of his confrontation with two local council officers while he was standing and silently praying outside a BPAS clinic in Bournemouth. 

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service ("BPAS") describes itself as the United Kingdom's leading abortion provider.

After repeatedly being asked what the nature of his prayer was, Smith-Connor told the authorities he was praying for his son who was "deceased." The officers warned him he was in an area under a Public Spaces Protection Order ("PSPO") which establishes a "safe zone" around abortion clinics and prohibits "engaging in any act of approval/disapproval" including praying. 


The abortion clinic in Bournemouth is the 5th one in the country to have this type of censorship zone, according to local news reports.

Smith-Connor recorded the exchange and shared the video with the UK branch of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a faith-based legal advocacy organization. 

The man explained to ADF UK that he was praying for his son who was aborted over twenty years ago, a decision that haunts him to this day.

"22 years ago I drove my ex-girlfriend to a facility and paid for her to have an abortion. It was a pivotal moment in my life. The consequences of my actions that day came back to grieve me years later, when I realized I had lost my son Jacob to an abortion I had paid for. Recently, I stood outside a similar facility and prayed to God for my son Jacob, for other babies who have lost their lives to abortion, for their grieving families, and for abortion clinic staff," he said.


The organization is challenging his fee and blasted the move in a statement.

"Nobody should be criminalised for what they believe – especially not when they express that belief silently, in the privacy of their own minds. Just like in the case of Isabel Vaughan-Spruce last month, Adam could now face prosecution for holding thoughts, and lifting those thoughts to God in prayer, within a censorship zone. The rapid proliferation of orders criminalising volunteers such as Adam and Isabel should be a wake up call to all those who value freedom of expression – even freedom of thought – no matter their views on abortion," said Jeremiah Igunnubole, Legal Counsel for ADF UK.

The UK man once worked in a hospital-based abortion unit before changing his views on the practice. He told ADF UK it was hard to believe he could be treated as a criminal for simply praying.

"I would never have imagined being in a position to risk a criminal record for praying silently. In the past, I assisted with abortions in hospital as part of my army medical training, but now I pray for those who perform abortions because I realise how harmful abortion is to women and families, and that every single human life is valuable – no matter how small. Most of all, I’m moved to pray because of what happened to my son, Jacob," he said.


Smith-Connor isn't the first person punished for praying outside abortion clinics in the UK.

A pro-life charity worker, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, was standing near another BPAS clinic in Birmingham when police approached her after an onlooker complained she might be praying outside the abortion facility.

Vaughan-Spruce was arrested after silently praying in a PSPO "censorship zone," according to ADF UK. 

Fox News Digital reached out to the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Pool Council for comment but has yet to hear back.

Fox News' Kendall Tietz contributed to this report.

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