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German pro-lifers prayingADF International

FRANKFURT, Germany (LifeSiteNews) – A German court has ruled in favor of a pro-life group and deemed that the restrictions imposed by the city of Frankfurt on a pro-life prayer gathering in front of a pro-abortion “counseling center” are illegal.

The ruling was issued Friday, March 18, and follows a long legal battle between the city of Frankfurt and pro-life group 40 Days for Life.

Back in January, the group registered a 40 days Lenten prayer gathering in front of a counselling center for pregnant women run by Profamilia, the pro-abortion German equivalent of Planned Parenthood in the U.S.

In February, the city of Frankfurt reacted by imposing buffer-zone-type restrictions on the pro-life groups, decreeing that pro-lifers could only gather in front of the Profamilia center outside of opening hours, or at a much greater distance from the center during opening hours.

40 Days for Life took the case to court, and a March 1 ruling by a Frankfurt court already deemed the restrictions imposed by the city to be illegal, arguing that “the legal system does not offer protection against confrontation with undesired conflicting views…”

The court also cited article 8 of German Basic Law on freedom of gathering which guarantees holders the right to determine the place, time, and content of the gathering.

The city of Frankfurt launched an appeal with the administrative court of Kassel, which was rejected on March 18. The Kassel Court followed the decision of the Frankfurt court and deemed that the restrictions imposed by the city on the prayer group were illegal.

The court argued that the right to privacy of pregnant women going to the center was not threatened by the pro-life gathering, and deemed that the usual location of the gathering, at a 30 meters meter distance away from the center’s entrance, was sufficient.

In a press release, Dr. Felix Böllmann, a lawyer working for human rights organization ADF International, welcomed the decision by the court.

“We welcome the fair and differentiated decision of the Administrative Court in Kassel, which emphasizes the importance of freedom of expression and assembly in public spaces,” said Böllmann.

ADF International also supports the case of Pavica Vojnović, leader of another 40 Days for Life prayer group who is fighting against another buffer zone restriction case in Pforzheim, Germany.

“Buffer zones inhibit the exercise of democratic rights and public discourse,” argued Böllmann.

“Peaceful efforts to protect the right to life in the place of one’s choice must not be opposed by spatially repressing such expressions of opinion, even if they might cause discomfort, incomprehension, or even indignation with others,” argued Böllmann.

The lawyer also expressed hope at the decision by the Kassel court.

“In light of the federal government’s plans to criminalize people who participate in peaceful prayer gatherings near abortion centers, this decision gives hope,” he said.

Pro-abortion lawmakers in Europe have doubled down in their efforts to thwart the work of pro-life organizations recently.

In the past few weeks, both Spain and Northern Ireland have issued laws imposing so-called buffer zones around abortion facilities, and have criminalized the work of pro-life individuals who gather in front of abortion clinics in an effort to offer pregnant women alternatives and dissuade them from taking the lives of their unborn babies.