UK bishop calls for prayers as MPs urge ban on abortion clinic vigils
The Bishop of Portsmouth, England has called Catholics to pray for the conversion of 113 Members of the British Parliament who signed a letter urging the ban of prayer vigils outside of abortion clinics.
“It’s folly that Jeremy Corbyn and MPs want to restrict freedom of speech/prayer outside abortion clinics,” said Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth on Twitter.
“Let’s pray for their conversion,” he continued.
The MPs’ letter requested that Home Secretary Amber Rudd ban prayer vigils outside of abortion clinics, making them illegal. Members of five political political parties signed the letter, including Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, and Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats.
The letter was penned by the Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton, Rupa Huq, on the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act. In the letter, Huq claimed that participants in the prayer vigils harassed women seeking abortions and called them “murderers.”
“No matter how strongly protestors feel about abortion themselves, they don’t have the right to harass, intimidate or distress women who need to make their own very personal decision with their doctors,” said Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, according to the Telegraph.
The claim of harassment and name-calling has been denied by the Good Counsel Network, the group which organizes the prayer vigils.
“We try to make sure women are not being pressured into abortion,” said Clare McCullough, founder of the Good Counsel Network, according to the Catholic Herald.
“If we were harassing anyone we would be arrested. In fact, what we’re trying to do is help women to have an alternative,” McCullough continued.
The UK isn’t the only place that is trying to outlaw prayer vigils outside of abortion clinics. Last week, lawmakers in Ontario, Canada passed a bill that will make protests outside of abortion clinics illegal. The bill will create safe zones around the abortion clinics in which protests and prayer vigils would be banned.