A MAN is contesting a fine given to him by BCP Council for “praying for [his] son, who is deceased” in a protection zone outside an abortion facility in Bournemouth.

Adam Smith-Connor stood outside the BPAS abortion clinic in Ophir Road on November 24 last year for a few minutes before being approached by Community Safety Accredited Scheme officers.

He claimed to be praying silently in memory of “[his] son” after apparently paying for a partner to have an abortion more than 20 years prior.

While sympathetic to Mr Smith-Connor’s explanation, officers fined him for breaching the recently-approved Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

Bournemouth Echo: BPAS abortion clinic in Ophir Road, BournemouthBPAS abortion clinic in Ophir Road, Bournemouth (Image: Newsquest)

As reported, a buffer zone has been enforced outside the clinic since October 13 last year and was implemented by BCP Council through a PSPO which criminalises “protesting, namely engaging in an act of approval/disapproval or attempted act of approval/disapproval, with respect to issues related to abortion services”.

This includes prayer or counselling.

Mr Smith-Connor said he had his back to the clinic in order to be mindful of the privacy of staff and attendees of the facility.

Having received the fine, Mr Smith-Connor said: “Recently, I stood outside a similar facility and prayed to God for my son, for other babies who have lost their lives to abortion, for their grieving families, and for abortion clinic staff.”

Bournemouth Echo: Pro-choice group Sister Supporter BournemouthPro-choice group Sister Supporter Bournemouth (Image: Newsquest)

Faith-based legal advocacy organisation ADF UK is supporting Smith-Connor and has engaged a legal team to challenge his fine.

A public consultation on whether a PSPO should be introduced saw 2,241 responses – 75 per cent of which supported the principle of a PSPO outside the clinic.

Legal action is also being taken against BCP Council by a pro-life campaign group who claim the PSPO is “unlawful, discriminatory and unethical”.

Speaking shortly after implementing the PSPO, BCP Council portfolio holder for community safety Cllr Bobbie Dove said: “Whilst we acknowledge the right of anyone to conduct a peaceful protest, we had to balance this against the distress caused or likely to be caused, and the detrimental impact of behaviours experienced by those accessing medical services or doing their jobs.”

Regarding Mr Smith-Connor's case, a council spokesperson said: “We cannot comment on any individual cases.”