Kate Forbes: ‘Silent prayer is an important freedom to uphold’

Christian MSP and former SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes has emphasised that Scotland must not outlaw peaceful prayer outside abortion centres.

Holyrood is currently considering the Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) (Scotland) Bill, and while the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch believes it is right that “harassment and anti-social behaviour” are banned, she says it is important to “protect the freedom of those to pray in a peaceful way”.

The Bill would create 200-metre censorship zones around buildings where abortions take place. It would become illegal to ‘influence’ “the decision of another person to access, provide or facilitate the provision of abortion services”.


In an interview with Roman Catholic media outlet Sancta Familia Media, Forbes stated: “I do not think that you can ban prayer so I think that silent prayer is essential and that is an important freedom to uphold.”

I do not think that you can ban prayer

She added: “I think this Bill is going to have to work really, really hard, listening to a broad number of views in order to ensure that it is a product of a liberal society, not an illiberal society.”

There is no mention of specific prohibitions against prayer in the Bill but its author, Gillian Mackay MSP, has cited prayer as evidence that a ban is needed and people have fallen foul of other censorship zones just for silently praying.


In October, pro-life campaigner Isabel Vaughan-Spruce was issued with a fine by police officers in Birmingham after they approached her for silently praying outside an abortion clinic.

This was the third time Miss Vaughan-Spruce, Director of March for Life UK, had difficulties with West Midlands Police. She was first arrested last December, and then in March also for praying while inside an abortion censorship zone.

In the first instance, she was arrested but was cleared by a magistrates’ court of wrongdoing. On the second occasion, the police dropped the investigation and she received an apology for her ordeal.

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