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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Bishop commends Government ruling on abortion clinic buffer zones

A bishop has praised a decision by the Government not to impose exclusion zones around abortion clinics throughout the UK.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced last week that a national policy of buffer zones would ‘not be a proportionate response’ to claims that some pregnant women were being harassed by people praying outside abortion centres.

His decision was welcomed by the Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, John Sherrington, who said it struck a balance between “the rights of people to gather peaceably and the rights of others to be free from intimidation”.

“We recognise that there are members of the public, often associated with churches, who gather peacefully to pray outside abortion clinics and witness to the good of human life in a dignified way,” he said. “It is an unacceptable situation if any people harass or intimidate women visiting clinics, even if such situations are rare.

“It is clearly not the case that all action is of this nature, and the distinctions between persons and groups should be examined further.

“We agree with the home secretary that everyone has a right to peaceful witness,” the bishop added.

Picture: A pro-life activist holds a rosary outside an abortion clinic in 2012 in London. Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington of Westminster praised a decision by the British government not to impose exclusion zones around abortion clinics throughout the country. (CNS photo/Andrew Winning, Reuters).