Northern pro-lifers vow to continue as exclusion zones confirmed

Pro-life work will continue in Northern Ireland despite the arrival of so-called “Safe Access Zones”, according to one prominent advocate.

The exclusion zones come into effect today and are designed to stop any pro-life presence outside hospitals and clinics that provide abortion.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic newspaper, Director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth said that while they will need to be more “creative” with regards to their work and that they may have to do things differently, they’re “not going away”.

She also raised an apparent inconsistency between the operation of exclusion zones in England and Wales in contrast to Northern Ireland.

“In early September, the UK home secretary Suella Braverman announced that silent prayer near abortion facilities is not a crime in the UK. That really encouraged us because she has written to every police force in the country to clarify that silent prayer, in itself, is not unlawful,” Ms Smyth said.

“I have written to my MP, Ian Paisley Jr, and I’ve asked for clarity regarding this statement by the home secretary. Does this apply to Northern Ireland?”

“We need clarity from our MPs, . . . that we can continue, even if it’s silent prayer.”