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Abortion: Protest

Home Office written question – answered on 25th October 2019.

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Photo of Anneliese Dodds Anneliese Dodds Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to keep the issue of anti-abortion clinic protests under review.

Photo of Anneliese Dodds Anneliese Dodds Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of anti-abortion clinic protests on healthcare professionals, and whether this assessment informed the anti-abortion clinic protest review.

Photo of Anneliese Dodds Anneliese Dodds Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has made an assessment of the effect of anti-abortion protest activity outside clinics on women’s human rights in light of the recent Court of Appeal ruling on the buffer zone around a Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing.

Photo of Anneliese Dodds Anneliese Dodds Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department plans to continue monitoring anti-abortion clinic protests.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women

The Home Office carried out an assessment to understand the scale and nature of protests outside abortion clinics to establish whether more should be done to protect those requiring an abortion. The previous Home Secretary set out his position on 13 September 2018 through a Written Ministerial Statement. A link to the statement can be found here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-09-13/HCWS958.

The Government recognises the adverse impact that anti-abortion protests can have on patients and staff and the Home Office is keeping this important matter under review. My officials regularly liaise with national policing leads to assess if there have been any developments on protest activities outside abortion clinics. The Home Office would welcome any new evidence that becomes available.

I understand that the implementation of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in the vicinity of the Marie Stopes West London Centre in Ealing has proved successful in preventing protests and vigils taking place that were deemed to be having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality. In March 2019, a second PSPO was introduced around the British Pregnancy Advisory Service clinic in Twickenham.

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