74-Year-Old UK Pro-Lifer Jailed, Denied Health Care for Sending Abortion Pics to Hospital
by Gudrun Schultz and Hilary White
NORFOLK, England, May 9, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A man who sent graphic pictures of mutilated and aborted babies to staff and officials at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn was jailed for a month, given a five-year anti-social behaviour order, and threatened with five years incarceration if he disobeys the order. Atkinson was charged with “sending malicious communications” to the hospital.
74-year-old Edward Atkinson told the judge, “Then you may as well lock me up and throw away the key,” reported the Eastern Daily Press. During the hearing, he said, “Since 1968, seven million unborn babies have been brutally and callously murdered with the full connivance of the state.”
The feisty Mr. Atkinson sent the photos and a video of a child being aborted to hospital chief executive Ruth May who described them as “offensive, horrendous and absolutely disgusting.”
Ms. May said she received an envelope of “very upsetting and offensive literature” and became tearful when she told the Press, “It is upsetting for everyone. I believe people who work for the NHS, and particularly at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, are passionate about providing excellent care for their patients.”
Since the court case, Mr. Atkinson has been removed from the hospital’s wait list for an evaluation for hip surgery and has been banned from anything other than life-saving treatment as a punishment for his activism. A hospital spokesman said he had broken its “zero tolerance” policy by ignoring its warnings to stop. Hospital staff said they were upset and “quite disturbed’ by the images.
The hospital said, “We exercised our right to decline treatment for anything other than life-threatening conditions.”
The pro-life advocates at the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform (CCBR) – an organization that pioneered in Canada the public display of graphic images of abortion to make the case for life – were “appalled” at the conviction and the hospital’s denial of care.
“This is one of the most disturbing cases of intolerance for the pro-life perspective I have ever heard,” said CCBR executive director Stephanie Gray. “To disagree with or be horrified by the pro-life perspective is one thing, but to put an elderly man in jail and to deny him health care is outrageous.”
Gray added, “In a society that kills the most weak and vulnerable [of] human beings, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.”
Gray said the pictures show the horrors of abortion to a culture that does not want to know. “People hold a double standard about abortion. They’re fine with graphic images of the Ethiopian famine or Abu Ghraib prison, but if it’s closer to home then they respond with hostility.”
James Dowson, the national co-ordinator of the UK Life League, told The Scotsman, “It is ridiculous. I think it is completely unfair. They are refusing to treat him. Would they refuse a murderer or a paedophile? He has paid his taxes, he is entitled to that treatment, who are they to withhold it from him?”
Atkinson, who refused to give the oath at the hearing until a Roman Catholic Bible was obtained, said the purpose of sending the images had been “to educate.”
“I accept that the documentation was highly distressing. It’s horrendous, monstrous and sickening but it represents the truth of what is going on in our world. Everyone in this courtroom knows that abortion is murder and no one has the guts to say it.”
Atkinson was found guilty on three counts of sending malicious communication to the hospital, and jailed for 28 days concurrently on the charges, with an additional 14 days for failing to pay a £650 fine, received for a similar offence in 2002. He was also told £500 would be deducted from his pension to cover court costs.
See Centre for Bioethical Reform website: