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.
He said: “Even the city’s legal department initially took the position -- as evidenced by internal correspondence -- that this should be allowed. Only after massive intervention by the abortion organization and after ‘no-protest zones’ were even installed around abortion counseling centers in the state of Hesse, did the city of Pforzheim impose this requirement.”
“The proceedings are about establishing the illegality of this requirement and securing the right to freedom of assembly and expression, and the free exercise of religion.”