MPs have voted in favour of amendment NC 11 to the Public Order Bill which will establish buffer zones around abortion clinics and hospitals where interference with, and intimidation or harassment of, women accessing or people providing abortion services would be an offence. A person found guilty of an offence under this new clause will be liable to a fine or imprisonment.
Commenting on the vote, Clare Murphy, Chief Executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, BPAS, the UK’s leading abortion care provider, said:
“We are delighted that today MPs have voted to protect women, protect healthcare staff, and establish buffer zones around abortion clinics in England and Wales.
At BPAS, we have been working tirelessly for almost a decade to end anti-abortion clinic harassment. Every year, around 100,000 women are treated by a clinic or hospital for an abortion that is targeted by anti-abortion protests. These groups attempt to deter or prevent women from accessing abortion care by displaying graphic images of foetuses, calling women “murderers”, and hanging baby clothing around clinic entrances, causing women significant distress. Today’s vote will bring an end to this activity.
This was truly a cross-party amendment, with support from across the House. We thank all those who have campaigned alongside us, and all those MPs who voted in favour today.”
For further information, please contact Katherine O’Brien, BPAS Associate Director of Campaigns and Communications, on katherine.o’firstname.lastname@example.org or 07881 265276.
BPAS is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, which seeks to develop and deliver a research agenda that furthers women’s access to evidence-based reproductive healthcare, driven by an understanding of women’s perspectives and needs. You can find out more here: https://www.bpas.org/get-involved/centre-for-reproductive-research-communication/
In 2021, BPAS launched BPAS Fertility, England’s first not-for-profit fertility service, to provide ethical, evidence-based, person-centred care that supports patients. We provide a safe, high-quality, and accessible service, without profiteering from patients. Our service gives those ineligible for NHS funding an affordable option to access the care they need.