UK – Buffer zones are not an attack on free speech

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

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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