The government is considering restricting prayer vigils outside abortion clinics, the Home Office has said.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said women needed protection from “aggressive protesters”; the Government would carry out a review of existing legislation and consider giving police and local authorities new powers to stop pro-lifers gathering outside abortion clinics.
“While everyone has a right to peaceful protest, it is completely unacceptable that anyone should feel harassed or intimidated simply for exercising their legal right to healthcare advice and treatment,” Ms Rudd said in a statement.
“The decision to have an abortion is already an incredibly personal one, without women being further pressured by aggressive protesters.”
The Home Office review will consider how similar measures have worked in America, Australia and France.
The move comes amid a campaign by Labour MP Rupa Huq to create “buffer zones” around abortion clinics to stop people praying there and offering leaflets to women.
Ms Huq organised a letter demanding that the Home Secretary impose the zones.
A total of 113 MPs, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, signed the letter, which spoke of protesters using “oversized signs of distressing and graphic” images and calling women “murderers”.
Clare McCullough, director of the Good Counsel Network, which organises the vigils in Ealing, denies the claims.
She said in a letter to the Home Secretary: “No one attending our vigils calls women seeking abortion ‘murderers’. Nor do we follow them.”
Bishop launches Adoration drive in Catholic schools
The bishop of Nottingham has described his daily practise of Adoration in a new video message as he attempts to revive the traditional practice in Catholic schools.
Bishop Patrick McKinney gave the testimony in a video message ahead of last Friday’s day of Adoration. Pupils, teachers and parents at all 86 Catholic schools in the diocese came together to worship the Blessed Sacrament.
In the video Bishop McKinney said the day was part of preparations for Adoremus, the National Eucharistic Congress in Liverpool next September. But he added: “Sadly in the Church perhaps we have put [Adoration] to one side, neglected it a little bit.”
During Adoration, he said, “I spend time with the Lord in quiet and then I share with him what’s in my heart … There’s nothing that I cannot bring to the Lord in my time of prayer. He loves me with that amazing intensity, so I need not be embarrassed of anything that’s worrying me. I can just confidently bring it to the Lord and say ‘Lord, I’ve messed up’.
“I know that, as I share those things with the Lord, he will help me to do the right thing.”
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.