“Bizarre” UK High Court Ruling on Abortion Images to Be Appealed

UK High Court Justices handed down a partial victory last week to a woman convicted of malicious conduct for sending abortion images to pharmacists, in a "bizarre" decision she will appeal to the House of Lords.

A member of LifeLeague, Veronica Connolly was convicted in October 2005 on the charges of sending "indecent or grossly offensive" pictures in the mail, under the 1988 Malicious Communications Act after she sent pictures of aborted babies to pharmacists in protest of the sale of abortifacient morning-after pills.

While Lord Justice Dyson and Mr. Justice Stanley Burnton agreed that Mrs. Connolly was entitled to send abortion images through the mail as an expression of free speech and freedom of religion, the justices said she should not have sent the images to members of the public. The pictures should only have been sent to people with a direct ability to influence public debate or to affect a law change, such as MPs.

"This is the most bizarre ruling," Mrs. Connolly said in response, reported Christian Today. "Ordinary women and girls take the morning after pill, and pharmacists and their staff hand it over the counter. They are all directly involved in the process of abortion, and they have a right to know the facts on both sides of the argument."

"What the judge is saying is that only MPs have a right to detailed information on social and moral and ethical issues, not the public. But on every moral issue which affects the public, it is everyone's democratic right to be able to obtain full information on which they can make an informed decision.

"Then, if they choose to do, they can campaign for a change in the law. That's democracy. What this ruling does is create a special political class as well as bringing in a new censorship on what sensitive information can be available to the electorate.

The rational behind this judgment is flawed."

Her lawyer will argue the case before the House of Lords based on the interpretation of Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mrs. Connolly appealed her conviction to the High Court, after the Coventry Crown Court upheld her conviction in an appeal ruling in May 2006. Connolly argued the ruling was a violation of her rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression.

The High Court reserved ruling last month, saying a written decision on the case would be issued shortly.

Connolly, who is 50 and in a wheelchair, said previously she would continue to pursue the case even if she were to receive a prison sentence.

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