Prayer outside abortion clinics in UK will become a criminal offense under new law

Yesterday the House of Lords passed an amendment to the Public Order Bill that will introduce buffer zones outside abortion clinics. For over eight years the largest abortion provider in the UK, (British Pregnancy Advisory Service) has campaigned to introduce these buffer zones. Firstly what is a buffer zone?

A buffer zone is a 150m area in which it is illegal to oppose the abortions happening within the clinic. It means activities such as protesting, handing out leaflets and holding vigils will be prohibited within that area. Buffer zones (also known as ‘censorship’ or ‘safe’ zones) would effectively ban and criminalise volunteers from peacefully praying and offering support to women entering abortion clinics. Even though this bill has not yet become law, abortion activists have been using the existing Public Space Protection Orders as buffer zones and the police have been enforcing these (more on this later). 

BPAS launched a campaign back in 2014 called “Back Off” along with 19 other groups to push for these buffer zones. In their press release in November 2014 they stated “We now believe legislation to create safe spaces around clinics and advice centres free from activists would do much to minimise the distress these people cause women, and ensure healthcare staff can work in an environment free from intimidation.”. What do they mean by “safe spaces”. An abortion clinic is certainly not a safe space for the baby about to lose its life. It is not a safe space for the mother about to have her child killed. BPAS talk about minimising distress. Maybe the best way to remove distress would be to stop killing children. Talking the life of a family member will cause maximum distress to the vast majority of mothers and fathers. 

Back in 2018 the Conservative government considered this issue in great depth and concluded that “introducing national buffer zones would not be a proportionate response, considering the experiences of the majority of hospitals and clinics, and considering that the majority of activities are more passive in nature”. Yet here we are five years later with this anti-baby legislation on the cusp of becoming law. Where are the true Conservative MP’s as opposed to the CINO (Conservative in Name Only) government we have in the UK? 

Many pro-life groups have vocally opposed this bill. The Pro-Life All Party Parliamentary Group have worked tirelessly to galvanise the support of members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords to stand against this bill. Four times this amendment has been put forward and four times it was defeated. But it now looks like it has succeeded in passing all the stages to become law. The bill (along with the buffer zone legislation) now goes back to the House of Commons for the amendments to be accepted. 

It has been particularly disheartening to see the silence from the church in the UK. Few Christian leaders have spoken up and the bishops in the House of Lords have been very mute. They spend their time promoting Saint Gretta and championing LGBT rights instead of speaking up for the most vulnerable in our society, the unborn. 

Two individuals have been arrested for breaking the zones already being enforced. Just days before Christmas, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce was arrested in Birmingham for praying outside an abortion clinic. She was charged with four counts of violating the abortion clinic ‘buffer zone’ after she admitted that she might have been praying silently while standing outside. You can watch the footage of her arrest and her interview with Tucker Carlson at

This month the same thing happened in Bournemouth where an ex-soldier was arrested because he prayed silently outside an abortion facility. Adam was silently praying for his son, Jacob, who was aborted over two decades ago.How sad that it is illegal for a father, who regrets having his child aborted, to pray silently outside the clinic where his son died. 

The passion the abortion lobby have where they love death more than we love life has brought us to this position. Thinking of life or praying for the unborn outside abortion clinics are now both criminal offences. How more lives will now be lost because of this new law passed by a “Conservative” government? 

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Peter Mcilvenna is the co-founder of Hearts of Oak, a UK based freedom of speech alliance. Guest interviews each Monday and Thursday and News Reviews each Saturday. Peter has also worked for Lord Pearson of Rannoch in the House of Lords for the last ten years. In 2019 he served as UKIP’s national Campaign Manager during the Local and European Elections. He is married with two children and has a strong Christian faith.

You can email Peter McIlvenna here, and read more of Peter McIlvenna's articles here.


Thanks for sharing!