Feb 14, 2024
A law to ensure buffer zones around abortion clinics is needed "quickly", the health secretary has said.
Neil Gray described protests from anti abortion groups outside medical facilities as "unacceptable". Mr Gray was speaking at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow, one of several sites targeted by the 40 Days for Life pro-life group.
A Labour and Tory MP will later appeal to the home secretary to rethink guidance that will still allow "silent prayer" and protesters to approach vulnerable women.
Thursday 1 February 2024
Cross-party MPs will meet with the home secretary today to query the government's plans allowing protesters to engage in "silent prayer" and approach women with leaflets inside buffer zones around abortion clinics.
Despite MPs voting over a year ago to ban these activities, draft guidance released by the Home Office now appears to water down the laws, campaigners have said.
18 January, 2024
The UK Government has proposed draft guidance for Abortion Safe Access Zones that would effectively overturn the will of Parliament through expansive religious loopholes which would render the legislation incapable of protecting women from abuse and harassment.
In 2022 and 2023, in a resolute response to escalating harassment of women at the hands of evangelical protesters outside abortion clinics, the UK Parliament voted overwhelmingly to establish Safe Access Zones around abortion clinics in England and Wales. These zones were expressly intended to protect women from a barrage of bullying and psychological abuse as they sought access to clinics, ensuring their right to medical care in a safe and dignified environment.
Campaigners could still be allowed to conduct silent prayers and approach women attending clinics in England and Wales
Rowena Mason Whitehall editor
Wed 17 Jan 2024
Ministers have been accused of watering down guidance around new buffer zones outside abortion clinics in England and Wales, after it emerged campaigners could still be allowed to conduct silent prayers and approach women attending clinics to discuss the issue.
New draft guidance published by the Home Office has caused alarm among people who campaigned for the 150-metre safe zones, due to be introduced in the spring.
18th December 2023
By Elaine McGee, BBC News NI
The police are investigating up to 50 potential breaches of laws providing safe access zones (SAZs) outside abortion clinics in Northern Ireland. The zones came into effect in September at eight clinics in Northern Ireland.
More incidents were reported at Causeway Hospital in Coleraine than any other site, police figures show. That has prompted pro-choice campaigners and some local politicians to call for the zones to be extended by up to 250m (820ft).
Public consultation launched on the implementation of Safe Access Zones around abortion clinics.
Home Office and The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP
11 December 2023
The government has launched a public consultation on the implementation of Safe Access Zones around abortion clinics.
During passage of the Public Order Act 2023 last year, Parliament voted to introduce legislation to prohibit protests within 150 metres of an abortion clinic or hospital that provides abortion services. We anticipate commencing Section 9 of the Public Order Act 2023 no later than Spring 2024.
The Highlands MSP and former SNP finance secretary was criticised by buffer zone campaign group Back off Scotland.
by Alasdair Clark
November 26 2023
Campaigners have accused SNP MSP Kate Forbes of making “ignorant comments” after she defended silent prayer outside of abortion clinics.
Ms Forbes shared her views on the upcoming Holyrood legislation which could see buffer zones imposed around clinics.
If backed by MSPs, the bill would prevent protest within 200 metres of medical facilities.
Suella Braverman accused by MP Stella Creasy of denying will of parliament in passing safe access law
Sat 21 Oct 2023
Pro-choice MPs and activists have expressed their frustration at the government’s failure to implement a law on buffer zones around abortion clinics one year after 297 MPs voted in favour of the zones and as women face a new wave of protests when accessing reproductive care.
A Home Office spokesperson told the Observer that timelines would be confirmed “in due course” but refused to explain why the law was not yet in force and failed to confirm if a consultation on safe-access zones legislation had been launched.
'Safe access zones’ entered law in England and Wales in May but Home Office has delayed implementing them
Wed 18 Oct 2023
Women using abortion clinics are still being harassed despite MPs voting a year ago to create buffer zones to stop protesters intimidating them, medical and abortion groups say.
Suella Braverman, the home secretary, has failed to “commence” the legislation to introduce buffer zones in England and Wales, even though parliament approved the move on 18 October last year.
By Gordon Calder
12 October 2023
A NORTH MSP has given her backing to a bill which would create buffer zones to stop anti-abortion groups from protesting outside medical centres.
Ariane Burgess, the Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has welcomed the publication of the bill to introduce safe access zones. The proposal comes from her party colleague Gillian Mackay.