CNA Staff, May 13, 2021 / 06:00 am
A German court began Wednesday to hear a challenge to a municipality’s decision to ban a prayer vigil in front of a pre-abortion advisory center.
The hearing started on May 12 in Pforzheim, southwest Germany. The plaintiff is Pavica Vojnović, who led the prayer vigils, organized by the group 40 Days for Life, outside the Pro Familia advice center in the city.
Pro Familia is a member association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
In 2019, the local municipality, in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, denied the prayer group permission to hold vigils near the center.
Twice a year, around 20 people had gathered to pray for 40 days for women facing abortion and their unborn children. Vigil participants did not prevent anybody from entering the building or block the pavement in the surrounding area.
When the advisory center asked police to monitor the activists, they found no violations. But the center’s management asked that the vigil be moved some distance away or banned altogether.
Vojnović’s legal challenge is supported by the group ADF International, which believes that the ruling violates the freedom of speech, assembly, and religion.
Felix Böllmann, legal counsel for ADF International, told CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, that for several years the municipality had not considered the prayer vigils’ proximity to the center a problem.