Politics

MP seeks to ban demonstrations outside abortion clinics


Anti-abortion campaigners outside clinicImage copyright
PA

Image caption

The Good Counsel Network held daily vigils outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing

A bill seeking to ban demonstrations outside abortion clinics will be introduced by Labour MP Rupa Huq later.

Last year, pro-life protesters lost a legal challenge against the UK’s first buffer zone implemented around a clinic in Dr Huq’s constituency.

Ealing Council said a 100-metre exclusion zone at the Marie Stopes centre had been put in place after women complained of being intimidated.

The protesters said they were providing help to those visiting the clinic.

Dr Huq says: “This bill would have them moved away from clinic gates of all abortion facilities so they can stop the emotional blackmail of calling women approaching ‘mum’, lining the pavement with gruesome foetus dolls and images and filming women to shame them.”

Although Ealing Council has managed to legally remove anti-abortion protesters Dr Huq says this is “only temporary” and will need reviewing next spring.

She also says the process is “too hard, expensive, and the evidence burden is too high to expect councils to pick this up themselves”.

“This is a national problem… that requires a national solution,” she says.

Image copyright
PA

Image caption

Pro-choice demonstrators also gathered outside the clinic

Alina Dulgheriu who brought the legal challenge against Ealing Council, has said the ban “criminalises speech, assembly, charitable support and prayer”.

“My little girl is here today because of the real practical and emotional support that I was given by a group outside a Marie Stopes centre, and I am going to appeal this decision to ensure that women do not have this vital support option removed,” she has said.

“I cannot imagine a society where a simple offer of help to a woman who might want to keep her child is seen as a criminal offence.”

Dr Huq will introduce her bill to the House of Commons at around 12:30 BST; however, without government support the legislation is very unlikely to become law.



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