In response to recent anti-abortion protest activity outside the British Pregnancy Advisory Service clinic at St. Mary’s Hospital Portsmouth, Portsmouth City Council has this afternoon passed a motion to commit the Council to ‘fully exploring every available option…to create a ‘buffer zone’ around this location to provide the necessary reassurance and security that all women need and deserve as they make their own personal decision about their pregnancy.’
This move has followed on from the action taken by Ealing Council last month to begin the process of finding a solution to persistent anti-abortion activity outside a clinic in the borough.
A bpas spokesperson said:
“We welcome Portsmouth City Council’s decisive vote to take all action within their power to provide reassurance and security to all women accessing our services. As the Council has noted, this is not about shutting down debates about abortion or limiting free speech, but about protecting the rights of individuals to access legal healthcare freely and without intimidation.
“Portsmouth is the second council in as many months to use their powers to counter the growing problem of clinic protests. It is a testament to the pro-choice movement in both Ealing and Portsmouth that action is being taken – but we can’t rely on volunteers to do this in every area.
“The harassment and intimidation of women accessing abortion services is a national problem in need of a national solution. That’s why we will support councils in their efforts, and continue to campaign for new legislation to introduce buffer zones around all clinics.”
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Notes to Editors:
bpas is a charity which sees more than 70,000 women a year and provides 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.