LEICESTER, United Kingdom – New legislation strengthening “buffer zones” around abortion clinics in England and Wales “could very easily include many things that should never be criminalised such as prayer, thought, peaceful presence, consensual communication and practical support,” according to the Catholic Church.
Bishop John Sherrington, Lead Bishop for Life Issues for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said the rules are “both disproportionate and unnecessary.”
Clause 10 of the Public Order Bill, passed on March 7, criminalizes any effort to “influence” a woman’s decision to have an abortion within 150 meters (about 500 feet) of an abortion clinic. Such “influencing” could even include silent prayer.
Father Sean Gough and pro-life activist Isabel Vaughan-Spruce were arrested last year for silently praying near abortion clinics, but the charges were later dropped. The new legislation could allow prosecution in such cases.
READ ON BELOW…English bishop condemns abortion clinic ‘buffer zones’ | Crux
English bishop condemns abortion clinic ‘buffer zones’ | Crux