Displaying items by tag: abortion clinics
Birmingham City Council issued a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to deter people from gathering outside an abortion clinic with placards and pictures to protect patients from being harassed and intimidated when entering. 40 Days for Life Birmingham are concerned as the order makes it illegal to pray outside the clinic. They are taking the council to court, saying, ‘Through this action, we are not asking anyone to agree with what we believe; others have the right to disagree. We ask for justice, despite our different beliefs. It is disproportionate and unnecessary to ban prayer connected to abortion in an area near a Catholic church and to ban the words “baby” or “mum” in text or imagery.’ The PSPO comes after the Government voted for nationwide ‘buffer zones’ outside abortion clinics. Anyone breaching them faces up to six months in jail for a first offence and up to two years for several offences.
The Scottish government's chief legal officer has come under fire after saying that prayer vigils outside abortion clinics could be 'far more damaging' than verbal protest. Addressing the UK's supreme court about abortion clinics in Northern Ireland, Dorothy Bain KC said she believed ‘standing in judgment’ was just as psychologically damaging for women. She wants prayer vigils to be excluded from ‘buffer zones' - areas where protesting or handing out leaflets are banned - outside abortion clinics. The Catholic Church has labelled Mrs Bain's remarks as ‘absurd and alarming’, and have condemned her comments. Everyone has the right to express and offer our opinion on religious belief, and more importantly, religious practice. The Church said, ‘To be told they can't stand silently in prayer, in this case, outside an abortion clinic or a hospital that carries out abortions is really, frankly, chilling and extremely worrying.’
Rupa Huq MP raised the topic of buffer zones at abortion clinics, to help protect women who attend clinics from intimidation, saying the bill was about women being able to present themselves for healthcare, not abortion. Fiona Bruce responded, ‘Such a law would damage free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, the right to protest peaceably, and the right to receive information’. The comments were part of a ten-minute rule bill, where a backbench MP makes the case for a new bill and another MP can oppose it. They rarely become law but bring publicity to an issue. This bill passed, but is not guaranteed further Parliament debating time unless the Government chooses to make it progress. The bill’s demands are not around abortion, but are about women presenting themselves for healthcare without intimidation.
Calls for buffer zones to be introduced outside abortion clinics to stop patients being harassed have been rejected by the Home Secretary, who said that protest-free areas around clinics ‘would not be a proportionate response’. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his decision was a ‘shocking failure to protect women’ and should be reversed. Be Here For Me, a campaign group which opposed the ban, welcomed the commonsense decision which would mean ‘women could continue to be offered much needed help and support’. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said they were ‘delighted’ by the decision: ‘This is a massive victory for common sense, democracy and above all for the hundreds of vulnerable women who are saved from the horror of abortion at the very gates of the abortion clinic.'