By Cassandra Fairbanks March 25, 2022
Green Party’s Clare Bailey is ecstatic. Her bill, the first of its kind “anywhere in both the UK and Ireland” will effectively ban the act of prayer outside abortion clinics as well as any other last-chance effort to convince women to carry their pregnancies to term.
Bailey, the leader of the Green Party of Northern Ireland, has been pushing for her Abortion Services Safe Access Zones Bill since 2016. The legislation, which now only requires a procedural rubberstamp from the queen, will make an effort to persuade women to forgo the life-terminating procedure a violation of the law—even if such effort comes in the form of offering to help, or, through prayer, is directed at God.
Celebrating the bill’s success, members of the Northern Ireland Assembly danced, screamed, and hugged each other in exuberance.
Not everyone in Assembly was happy, however. James Allister, a British Unionist member, spoke despondently about what it meant for the morals of society to not only accept the practice of abortion but also prevent any attempt to dissuade women from undergoing it.
“A woman’s womb should be the safest possible place for the unborn,” he said. “Yet, with abortion, it is the most dangerous place for the unborn, because it is there, in the womb, that, consciously, deliberately and by choice, death is visited on the unborn.”
According to the final revisions of the legislation, a constable will be authorized to warn, order the removal of, or use the necessary force to remove violators in the “safe zone.”
Actions that will be considered in violation of the law include influencing women seeking abortion directly or indirectly, impeding access, recording audio or video of women who are within the safe zone, or harassment. Due to the incredibly broad array of actions that might indirectly influence a woman within the safe zone, actions such as prayer for the end of abortion or for the souls of the unborn would be in violation of this law.
Those who violate the law will be fined up to £1,000.
Those who refuse to vacate the premises or resist enforcement of the law will receive a summary conviction and fine not exceeding £5,000.