Sunday, September 23, 2018

European Court of Human Rights OKs Injunctions Against Anti-Abortion Activist

In four related Chamber Judgments issued on Sept. 20, the European Court of Human rights upheld injunctions and the award of damages in the cases that doctors brought against an anti-abortion activist for calling doctors who performed abortions aggravated murderers and comparing abortion to the Holocaust. The court issued a press release summarizing the holdings in Annen v. Germany (No. 2 to 5):
The cases concerned a series of complaints by an anti-abortion activist, Klaus G√ľnter Annen, over civil court injunctions on various actions he had taken as part of an anti-abortion campaign. The plaintiffs in the domestic proceedings were four doctors who performed abortions.
The Court held in particular that the injunctions had interfered with Mr Annen’s freedom of expression, but had been necessary in a democratic society. When examining whether there had been a need for such interferences in the interests of the “protection of the reputation or rights of others”, namely of the doctors, the Court’s role was only to ascertain whether the domestic courts had struck a fair balance when protecting the freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 10 and the right to respect for private life protected by Article 8 of the [European] Convention [on Human Rights].
The press release contains links to the full text of each of the four decisions. [Thanks to Paul deMello Jr. for the lead.]