Silent prayer outside abortion clinics must be banned, says Scottish MP

A Tory Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) is facing strident opposition for wanting to exempt “silent prayer” from proposed exclusion zones from which all pro-life activism would be banned.

A bill by Green MSP Gillian Mackay would block every kind of pro-life presence within 200m of clinics and hospitals that offer abortion.

Holyrood’s health committee backed the bill, but noted there are different views among MSPs on silent prayer.

Under the Tory MSP’s amendments, a person would not be criminalised if they engaged in silent prayer or if they were not part of a group or organised event.

Mackay rejects this saying: “I will always consider constructive suggestions, but I will not support wrecking amendments or anything that could undermine or weaken protections for service users and staff”.

The Humanist Society Scotland have also said exempting silent prayer would create a loophole for anti-abortion activists.