At least eight members of the US Congress are trying to influence the introduction of ‘buffer zones’ around British abortion clinics.
They’ve written to the US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom Rashad Hussain asking him to examine the plight of Christians in the UK.
The American lawmakers say the UK’s proposed laws are on “an unsettling path” that could result in “existential threats to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and even freedom of thought.”
British MPs recently approved the nationwide rollout of what are officially termed Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) outside abortion clinics.
The orders criminalise any activity that could be seen as offensive to people using the facilities.
The US politicians are concerned they will permit the “prosecution of Christians and other people of faith for simply expressing their pro-life and religious views.”
The UK Parliament rejected an amendment that would have exempted silent prayer and consensual conversation in the ‘buffer zones.’
The Congress members argued “A free people do not face legal persecution for exercising a natural right. We strongly condemn the actions of the municipalities and the potential legislation before parliament to persecute Christians and other pro-life citizens for thought crimes.”
The congressional representatives cited the cases of Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, Catholic priest Father Sean Gough and Adam Smith-Connor who have all been arrested for silently praying near closed abortion clinics as examples of “the British government’s violation of religious freedom”.
They wrote: “As the United States and the United Kingdom share a special and uniquely close relationship, it is imperative that the US speak boldly and clearly to its friend when the UK has failed to protect unalienable rights. A free people do not face legal persecution for exercising a natural right. We strongly condemn the actions of the municipalities and the potential legislation before parliament to persecute Christians and other pro-life citizens for thought crimes.”
Premier Christian News reports them as saying it is “crucial” that the religious freedom ambassador speaks out against the recent arrests of pro-life advocates.
They said it would help “fulfil America’s commitment to advancing religious freedom around the world”.
Their letter to Mr Hussain read: “Respectfully, we urge you to speak out against these specific incidents and pending legislation; to raise this issue with your counterparts in the UK regarding these creeping restrictions and the importance of free speech, religious freedom, and freedom of thought in a free society; and to articulate America’s interest in seeing the UK government affirm these freedoms for all its citizens, regardless of where they might be standing.”