The High Court of Australia has handed down its judgement on two very important cases with serious implications for freedom of speech and the pro-life cause.  The court has upheld criminal convictions against Kathy Clubb and Graham Preston.  In doing so, they have confirmed the legality of so-called ‘safe access zones’ outside abortion clinics.  These laws prohibit anyone from communicating within the zone about abortion, in a way that can be seen or heard.  They are designed to stop pro-life counsellors from offering help and alternatives to abortion at the most dangerous moment of an unborn baby’s life.

In 2014 Tasmania made it illegal to express disagreement with abortion within 150m of abortion clinics.  Mr Graham Preston from Queensland was arrested, convicted, and fined $3,000 in Hobart for holding signs within the exclusion zone that read on one side, “Everyone has the right to life, Article 3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and on the other side “Every child has the right to life, Article 6, UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child”, along with an enlarged photo of an 8-week-old preborn baby.  Last October Mr Preston’s appeal against his conviction was heard in the High Court of Australia which has now handed down its decision that this exclusion zone law is not unconstitutional so the law will remain in place.

In particular, Kathy Clubb and the ministry she worked with has saved over 300 babies’ lives and supported their mothers, often through difficult circumstances.  When the law shuts down a ministry like this, the law clearly is not working.  As Kathy has said, her ministry is a ministry of mercy to women, and it has yielded incredible fruit.  Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) supporters all over Australia have campaigned for years against the introduction of ‘safe access zones’, standing with Kathy and Graham, praying for them, their families and for the justices of the High Court.

While the court’s decision is profoundly disappointing, it should only strengthen the resolve of supporters to stand up for freedom of speech and the cause of the unborn.  This case is not the end for Kathy and Graham as the matter will now go back to the Supreme Court of Victoria and Tasmania to deal with the rest of their appeals.  There are still substantial legal arguments about the validity of their convictions.  Please continue to uphold Kathy, Graham and our legal system in your prayers.  Could it be a criminal offence to promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a public place in Australia?   Yes it could, based on this judgement.

Mr Preston said, “It is a very sad day for this country.  This decision means that a person can be fined up to $10 000 and/or be jailed for up to 12 months simply for promoting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child in a public place in Australia. “This is not the old Soviet Union where human rights laws were a mockery, this is Australia.  Australia is signatory to both of these documents but now you can be sent to jail for promoting them on a public footpath!  “Every Australian, whatever their views on abortion, should be very concerned about this draconian suppression of free speech that has been upheld.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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