UK – Buffer zones are not an attack on free speech

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Buffer zones are not an attack on free speech

Ann Furedi, CEO, bpas
12 April 2018

The decision by Ealing Council in London to introduce a buffer zone around a local abortion clinic feels like a bitter-sweet victory. Since launching the Back Off campaign, bpas has worked long and hard to help win this victory, submitting 150 accounts from women and local residents of their experience of anti-abortion activists trying to ‘change women’s minds’ outside the clinic. We support the right of patients to receive, and of clinic staff to deliver, legal, NHS-funded care, free of interference from outsiders driven by their belief that abortion is wrong. The indignity of being pestered to account for your personal, moral decision to a stranger as you enter a medical clinic is an unmeasurable burden. But we also support free speech and the right to protest. We understand the concerns of civil-rights groups such as Liberty, who object that Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) are increasingly used to criminalise non-criminal activity and to victimise the homeless.

Continued: http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/buffer-zones-are-not-an-attack-on-free-speech/21298#.Ws8Z6nfTWEe

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UK – We should rein in abortion clinic protests without threatening free speech

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We should rein in abortion clinic protests without threatening free speech

Telegraph View
11 April 2018

Free speech is a precious commodity that we constrain at our peril. But when its exercise hurts or intimidates others, what then? And who should set the boundaries? In Ealing, west London, confrontations have taken place outside an abortion clinic between so-called pro-life protesters and women attending for advice or terminations.

The local council has responded by imposing a “safe space” buffer zone, within which no protests are permitted. It is using a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to stop vigils being held outside the building. This is a contentious use of powers introduced to curb anti-social behaviour. The concept of “safe spaces” is associated with shutting down debate in universities where speakers whose views some do not share are denied a platform.

Continued: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/11/should-rein-abortion-clinic-protests-without-threatening-free/

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UK – ‘They made me feel like a criminal for having an abortion’

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'They made me feel like a criminal for having an abortion'

By Jean Mackenzie, Victoria Derbyshire programme
10 April 2018

Anti-abortion campaigners have been accused of harassing women outside abortion clinics across the UK. With one council now deciding whether to ban them, some women say they are still haunted by protesters' behaviour.

"They said I was a murderer... that I was killing something with a heartbeat," Lisa Jones tells the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

She says she was harassed a number of years ago by anti-abortion protesters surrounding the entrance to an abortion clinic in Ealing, west London, where she was being seen.

Continued: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43669652

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UK – Protesters could be banned from a London abortion clinic, in a historic council vote

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Protesters could be banned from a London abortion clinic, in a historic council vote

Verity Ryan
9 April 2018

Protests could be banned outside an abortion clinic for the first time in a bid to stop women and staff from being harassed and intimidated.

Ealing Council in West London will hold a vote on Tuesday evening on whether to introduce a "buffer zone" around a Marie Stopes clinic after a public consultation gathered overwhelming support.

Continued: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/04/09/protestors-could-banned-london-abortion-clinic-historic-council/

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UK – Buffer zones urged as Lent anti-abortion vigils target clinics

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Buffer zones urged as Lent anti-abortion vigils target clinics
Calls for new legislation to be brought in after women report being left frightened and anxious

Frances Perraudin
Sat 17 Mar 2018

Women’s groups have renewed calls for buffer zones around clinics as anti-abortion campaigners increase their activities to coincide with Lent.

The US anti-abortion group 40 Days For Life is currently holding 12 vigils outside clinics in cities across the UK, including Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff. The vigils, which will run until Palm Sunday (25 March), are staffed with volunteers, who carry placards and hand out literature attempting aim to dissuade women from terminating pregnancies.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/17/abortion-vigils-buffer-zones

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UK: Why buffer zones around abortion clinics do not threaten the right to protest

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Why buffer zones around abortion clinics do not threaten the right to protest
February 13, 2018
Arianne Shahvisi

Ealing council in West London could soon set up a buffer zone to limit the harassment faced by patients of a local abortion clinic. The clinic is run by the reproductive health charity Marie Stopes, one of many abortion providers across the UK regularly targeted by anti-abortion protestors. In mid-January, councillors voted to launch a public consultation about the creation of a Public Space Protection Order, or buffer zone, around the clinic.

Common forms of anti-abortion protest include public prayer, hymns, and chanting. Protesters also distribute leaflets exaggerating the risks of abortion, display posters including images of aborted foetuses, strew

continued: https://theconversation.com/why-buffer-zones-around-abortion-clinics-do-not-threaten-the-right-to-protest-90371

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How UK anti-abortion activists use American tactics to shock and shame women

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How UK anti-abortion activists use American tactics to shock and shame women
Phoebe Braithwaite
19 December 2017

50 years after the 1967 Abortion Act, the anti-abortion movement is consolidating – with transatlantic support.

Anti-abortion activists gathered outside the UK Houses of Parliament on 27 October to protest 50 years since the passing into law of the UK’s 1967 Abortion Act. Nina Naidu* was working nearby, and went to take a closer look.

Like many women in the UK, she had previous, personal experience with both abortion and virulent anti-choice demonstrators. Earlier this year, the 24-year-old decided to terminate a pregnancy, and was accosted by protestors on the way to her appointment.

Continued at source: https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/phoebe-braithwaite/uk-anti-abortion-american-tactics-shock-shame

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UK: Council decision to prevent protests outside abortion clinic gets MPs’ support

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Council decision to prevent protests outside abortion clinic gets MPs' support

7 November 2017 12:15AM

More than half of MPs support a council's decision to introduce "buffer zones" outside abortion clinics to prevent protests, a poll suggests.

A survey of 101 parliamentarians found that 57% supported Ealing Council's decision to stop anti-abortion groups from protesting outside a clinic in the west London borough.

The authority is exploring options on how to prevent such demonstrations, including the use of Public Space Protection Orders.

Continued at source: http://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/national/article/Council-decision-to-prevent-protests-outside-abortion-clinic-gets-MPs-support-2c8fc4e5-f66b-4f90-9c84-29c7da58ee19-ds

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Canada: Ontario makes it illegal to protest outside and near abortion clinics

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Ontario makes it illegal to protest outside and near abortion clinics
Legislature passes bill to create zones around 8 abortion clinics in the province

The Canadian Press
Posted: Oct 25, 2017

It will soon be illegal to protest outside and near abortion clinics in Ontario.

The legislature passed a bill Wednesday to create zones around the eight clinics in the province of between 50 and 150 metres in which anti-abortion protests, advising a person not to get an abortion, and intimidation or interfering with a woman's ability to access the services will be banned.

The ban will also automatically apply to 150 metres around the homes of abortion staff and health professionals who provide the services.

Continued at source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-abortion-protest-bill-1.4372090

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UK: Government urged to tackle anti-abortion protests in UK after women are confronted outside clinics

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Government urged to tackle anti-abortion protests in UK after women are confronted outside clinics

Some women have been reduced to tears, while others have decided not to enter the clinic after being confronted by a barrage of abuse, campaigners say

May Bulman Social Affairs Correspondent
Oct 6, 2017

The Government is being urged to change legislation amid rising concern over anti-abortion “vigils” confronting women outside abortion clinics across the UK.

Women entering clinics to access abortion services or pregnancy and family planning advice are being confronted with large images of foetuses and pro-life campaigners urging them to change their minds, often wielding large images of foetuses.

Continued: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/abortion-uk-protests-government-urged-change-laws-clinics-vigils-a7984601.html

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