UK Parliament votes to criminalize praying outside abortion clinics on pain of possible imprisonment
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – The UK parliament has voted to accept a legislative amendment that would criminalize praying or offering advice to women outside abortion clinics, with a potential sentence of six months imprisonment for violators, the Christian Institute (CI) reports.
Proposed by Labour MP Stella Creasy, the amendment to the Government’s Public Order Bill was approved by 297 votes to 110, CI reports. Creasy said the legislation would protect women from alleged “intimidation and harassment.”
While the amendment provides for ‘buffer zones’ around abortion clinics in England and Wales to protect women from people praying or trying to talk them out of having an abortion, critics have pointed out that the wording of the legislation is unclear as to exactly what behavior is outlawed, CI said.
In a statement, Christian MP Fiona Bruce said: “The proposed criminalization of influencing is imprecise, unclear and unpredictable in its effect and potential impact, which contravenes the basic principle of certainty of the rule of law. Certainty is vital so that citizens can tailor their behaviour and remain within the law’s boundaries.”
CI notes that a number of UK municipalities have introduced censorship zones, where speaking using amplification and praying audibly or kneeling within a 150m radius of an abortion clinic are banned. According to CI, the nationwide legislation may mean homes and churches in the vicinity of a clinic are prohibited from displaying pro-life materials on their own property.
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