The UK House of Commons blocked a bill last week that sought to ban pro-life sidewalk counselors outside abortion facilities. The bill would have created a 150 meter “buffer zone” or censorship zone, banning pro-life speech around abortion businesses.
Right to Life UK explained, “Censorship zones would criminalise the offering of practical and emotional support to women entering abortion clinics across England and Wales, bringing a possible prison sentence of up to two years for those who offer support to women within 150 metres of abortion clinics.” The draconian measure was put forward by MP Rupa Huq. Christian Today reports, “The bill was due to have its second reading in the Commons on Friday but an objection from government whip Rebecca Harris prevented it from proceeding any further.”
Abortion activists have tried to enforce pro-life censorship through measures like this for years. In 2017, the office of the Home Secretary sought information about pro-life vigils outside abortion businesses, suggesting that a “buffer zone” may be warranted. In 2018, the incoming Home Secretary found that such censorship of pro-lifers was unwarranted, given the overwhelmingly peaceful nature of their presence.
Catherine Robinson, spokesperson for Right to Life UK, noted, “By attempting to restrict women facing unplanned pregnancies from receiving compassionate emotional and practical support, the ‘pro-choice’ lobby reveal their opposition to real choice for women and revealing they’re really just pro-abortion.” She added, “Many babies are alive today because their mothers were able to receive the help they needed outside of an abortion clinic.”
Alithea Williams, who is part of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said that there is still a possibility of similar measures being introduced to restrict pro-lifers. She explained, “While this particular bill will not become law, there is still a very real danger that buffer zones will be introduced.”
SPUC currently has a petition with more than 3,000 signatures calling for the protection of pro-life vigils and sidewalk counselors. Williams urged concerned UK citizens to add their names. She said, “The abortion lobby are relentless, and we need to be too. We need to counter their narrative by getting as many names as possible on our petition to present to the Home Secretary and the Scottish Justice secretary.”
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