On the decision of the Supreme Court to decline to hear an appeal against the first UK buffer zone around Ealing’s abortion clinic, Rachael Clarke, Public Affairs and Advocacy Manager for the British Pregnancy Advocacy Service said –
“BPAS is delighted to hear that the court challenge to Ealing Council’s decision to introduce a buffer zone around the Marie Stopes clinic in their Borough is finally over. As an abortion provider and the co-ordinators of the Back Off campaign to stop anti-abortion protests outside clinics, we know the impact these protesters have on clients and the staff that treat them. Nobody deserves to be harassed, intimidated, or distressed as they try to access legal medical care.
“Until Ealing introduced this buffer zone, no local council had been able to find a way to put a stop to this activity. It is hugely heartening to see that their actions have been upheld repeatedly in court – this vindicates not only their actions but the work of bpas and other councils which may have previously shied away from making use of existing powers, including Richmond upon Thames and Manchester City, to seek to introduce buffer zones. But this is not possible in all parts of the country. We know that since the government last considered national action in 2018, 39 clinics in England and Wales have had to deal with these protests.
“The current law is incomplete, ineffective, and it allows anti-abortion extremists to impinge on women’s access to healthcare. It’s time for new legislation and we call on all MPs to support moves change the law.”
bpas is a charity which sees almost 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception, at clinics across the UK. 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/