UK: Lawmakers reject legislation that would allow silent prayer within abortion clinic buffer zones

Thursday, March 9, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags: ,

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – British lawmakers have resoundingly rejected an amendment to the UK’s Public Order Bill that would allow people to engage in “silent prayer” and “consensual” conversation within buffer zones created to prevent anti-abortion activists from harassing women entering abortion clinics, the London Standard report.

The Public Order Bill currently going through parliament will criminalize behavior that interferes with, intimidates, or harasses women within a “safe access zone” around an abortion clinic, the Standard reports. The bill includes prayer vigils and even silent prayer inside such buffer zones: pro-life activist Isabel Vaughn-Spruce was recently arrested twice for standing and praying silently near a closed abortion clinic in Birmingham.

Concerned that citizens’ ability to think their private thoughts and pray silently in their mind is being curtailed, a group of Conservative and Democratic Unionist (DUP) MPs tabled an amendment that would allow “consensual communication” or “silent prayer” outside abortion clinics and hospitals offering abortion services.

The amendment was rejected in a free vote 299-166, a majority of 183, on Tuesday, the Standard said.

Alithea William, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children’s (SPUC) public policy manager, said, “It is very disappointing that MPs have rejected even this modest amendment, which was trying to ensure that thoughtcrime was not enshrined in UK law.”

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