Campaigners await UK decision on abortion clinic buffer zones

Campaigners await UK decision on abortion clinic buffer zones
Pro-choice activists say they expect announcement from Home Office within weeks

Caroline Davies
Mon 13 Aug 2018

Campaigners calling for buffer zones to prevent harassment and abuse of women accessing abortion centres are expecting a Home Office announcement within weeks.

The Labour MP Rupa Huq, who leads a cross-party campaign calling for national legislation following the model of the UK’s first abortion clinic safe zone in Ealing, west London, said the home secretary had pledged an announcement in September.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/13/abortion-clinic-buffer-zones-campaigners-await-uk-decision

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Britain enforces first abortion clinic exclusion zone

Britain enforces first abortion clinic exclusion zone

Apr 23, 2018

LONDON (AFP) - A ban on pro-life protests outside an abortion clinic in London came into force on Monday (April 23) in a first that pro-choice campaigners hope will set a precedent for the country.

The local authority in Ealing, west London, imposed an exclusion zone after claims that women and staff at the Marie Stopes clinic were being intimidated and harassed by vigils that have been held outside the building for more than 20 years.

Continued: https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/britain-enforces-first-abortion-clinic-exclusion-zone

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UK – At least eight local authorities in England are examining whether to follow Ealing’s lead

At least eight local authorities in England are examining whether to follow Ealing’s lead

Sarah Marsh
Mon 23 Apr 2018

Eight councils in England are considering setting up abortion clinic buffer zones after pro-choice groups said the number of “intimidating” protests was on the rise.

Across the country, 42 vigils and protests have taken place between 2017 and 2018, according to figures compiled by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS). They were led by a number of anti-abortion groups including the Good Counsel Network and 40 Days for Life.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/23/abortion-clinic-buffer-zones-being-considered-by-more-councils-lambert-protests

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The UK’s First Abortion Clinic Protest Exclusion Zone is All About Women’s Rights

The UK’s First Abortion Clinic Protest Exclusion Zone is All About Women’s Rights

By Alex Peplow
13th April 2018

Ealing Council in West London has become the first to ban protests within a 100-metre zone around a Marie Stopes abortion clinic. It could spark changes at other services across the country – but is there a conflict of rights?

A Catholic anti-abortion group called the Good Counsel Network has been regularly holding protests outside the clinic. They state that their aim is to attend “vigils” at abortion clinics and peacefully to approach women attending those clinics to try to persuade them to continue with their pregnancies.

Continued: https://rightsinfo.org/the-uks-first-abortion-clinic-protest-exclusion-zone-is-all-about-womens-rights/

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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 – Can Ealing’s abortion clinic “buffer zone” be replicated to protect women everywhere?

Can Ealing’s abortion clinic “buffer zone” be replicated to protect women everywhere?
A historic local vote curbing pro-life protesters may be tough for other councils to pursue.

By Anoosh Chakelian
11 April 2018

Anyone living in the west London suburb of Ealing knows of the Mattock Lane protesters. On a quiet road, lining a park and home to an amateur theatre, they stand outside the Marie Stopes sexual health clinic murmuring, shouting and praying (sometimes on their knees), and bearing graphic images for everyone to see.

Growing up in nearby Acton, I knew – as did everyone I knew – many in Ealing who had used the clinic over the years. For free condoms, mainly. But also for sexual health and contraception advice. For the morning-after pill. For chlamydia testing kits. And for abortions.

Continued: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/health/2018/04/can-ealing-s-abortion-clinic-buffer-zone-be-replicated-protect-women

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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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UK: Ealing Council nears abortion clinic ‘buffer zone’ amid harassment

Ealing Council nears abortion clinic 'buffer zone' amid harassment
A Marie Stopes clinic in London could be the UK's first to receive the cordon after MPs were told of intimidation against women.

Tuesday 16 January 2018
By Greg Heffer, Political Reporter

Pro-life campaigners could be banned from gathering outside an abortion clinic after a council neared establishing what would likely be the UK's first buffer zone.

Ealing Council agreed on Tuesday night to undertake a public consultation on a possible Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) around the Marie Stopes clinic in west London.

Continued: https://news.sky.com/story/ealing-council-nears-abortion-clinic-buffer-zone-amid-harassment-11210696

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