In legislation defining “buffer zones” outside abortion mills, British parliamentarians voted Tuesday to outlaw silent prayer and consensual conversations within 150 meters of all abortion facilities in England and Wales.
The vote came after pro-life activist Isabel Vaughan-Spruce was arrested for a second time after praying outside an abortion clinic in Birmingham, England.
Conservative MP Andrew Lewer had introduced an amendment to exempt silent prayer and consensual conversation from the regulations governing the “buffer” zones, but his proposed amendment failed by a vote of 116 to 299.
In an opinion piece for the British newspaper The Sunday Express, Lewer expressed concerns that the government was introducing “thought crime” into the United Kingdom.
Jeremiah Igunnubole, Legal Counsel for ADF UK, reacted to the ruling, saying that the “government should never be able to punish anyone for prayer, let alone silent prayer.”
“Today’s vote marks a watershed moment for fundamental rights and freedoms in our country,” Igunnubole said. “Parliament had an opportunity to reject the criminalisation of free thought, which is an absolute right, and embrace individual liberty for all. Instead, Parliament chose to endorse censorship and criminalise peaceful activities such as silent prayer and consensual conversation.”
Vaughan-Spruce was recently acquitted of all charges for praying outside the abortion clinic.