Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at bpas, said:
“We welcome the Court of Appeal’s decision. However, the harassment and intimidation of women and abortion clinic staff remains a national problem in need of a national solution.
“In September 2018, the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid rejected calls for government legislation for buffer zones despite overwhelming evidence of the suffering it causes women. Since then, there have been anti-abortion protests at 32 separate clinics and hospitals, including 4 new protest sites. It is unrealistic to expect individual councils, who are already under immense budgetary pressure, to dedicate significant time and resources to pursuing local PSPOs against what is a national problem which may indeed worsen within the next few weeks. In September, the campaign group 40 Days For Life will begin their 6 weeks of continuous “vigils” outside abortion clinics across the country, which will see anti-abortion activists target thousands more women and healthcare staff. The numbers of activists may be small, as we are an overwhelmingly pro-choice country, yet they can nevertheless have a profoundly negative impact on women.
“Today’s judgement confirms that buffer zones are legal, proportionate, and necessary. We urge the new Home Secretary Priti Patel to listen to the voices of women, medical bodies, and women’s rights organisations, and look again at the case for national legislation.”
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Notes to Editors:
bpas is a charity which sees more than 80,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception, at clinics across the UK. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. More information can be found at bpas.org.