Consultation on guidance over silent prayer in abortion clinic buffer zones ends today

Jan 22, 2024 by

from Religion Media Centre:

Today is the deadline for submissions to a Home Office consultation on guidance over whether to allow silent prayer in abortion clinic buffer zones.

The public order act passed last year does not allow silent prayer. MPs specifically voted on this. But the guidance says silent prayer “should not, on its own, be considered to be an offence under any circumstances”.

Campaigners say this guts the intention of the bill and they have called for an urgent review of the guidance.

The Home Secretary, James Cleverly, said the guidance seeks to balance the right to access or provide abortion services and the right to express views. “It is clearly unacceptable for anyone to be harassed or distressed simply for exercising their legal right to access abortion services”, he said. The act makes it an offence to influence someone’s decision to access an abortion within the area, and to obstruct and cause distress to anyone attending an abortion clinic, within a 150 metre “safe access zone”.

The government says it wants the measures to be implemented from the spring.


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