Abortion clinics need far better protection

Abortion clinics need far better protection

Britain’s health service is being “held hostage” by anti-abortion protesters who have forced the closure of one clinic and put another under threat, say campaigners.

In an open letter, a group of MPs, academics, health workers, authors and women’s rights campaigners have called on the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to protect NHS staff and services from “harassment”.

Among the 30 signatories are Dr Susie Orbach, Richard Dawkins, Diane Abbott MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Baroness Gould, Kate Green MP and Dr Evan Harris.

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, is quoted here as saying:

These disgraceful tactics have been imported from America where the anti-abortion movement has become fanatical and lethal.

If these people feel this strongly about abortion, they should make their case through the lobbying channels that we all have to use.

Sanderson called the harassment of women going to abortion clinics “shameful”.

The Government must ensure that staff can work free from harassment, and that patients can access services without intimidation.

Led by Kerry Abel, chair of Abortion Rights, pro-choice advocates have called for support for patients and staff.

It is surely the government’s responsibility, within the legal framework set by the Abortion Act 1967, to ensure access to safe, legal abortions for women, regardless of where they live.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) confirmed last week that an abortion services clinic had been forced to close “as a direct result of protest activity”. It has not named the clinic, but a second, in Southwark, south London, is also on “the brink” of closure due to security fears.

Abel said there was widespread concern that the closure would encourage the anti-abortion campaigners to escalate activities.

The picketing of clinics with huge posters of bloodied medical procedures and foetuses has already become common.

They want to increase stigma, and because they can’t win in parliament they want to whisper in women’s ears and frighten them with graphic and vindictive images.

It’s unacceptable that perfectly legal medical services are being shut down because of a few bullies outside. But what’s worse is the government are standing by and letting it happen.

She urged the public to sign the letter.

There needs to be action taken before things escalate,” she said, adding that “hotspots” of activity at clinics don’t seem to be showing up in a drop in the number of abortions, but may be pushing up the length of time before women have abortions by scaring them away until they really have no options.

BPAS, Abortion Rights and others are asking for “buffer zones” similar to those in Canada and France, so that lawful protests can go ahead without the intimidation of staff and women attending appointments.

Clare Murphy of the BPAS said:

There’s no doubt that a small number of people who are against abortion are able to have a serious knock-on effect on women’s services. We know the police feel relatively powerless to do anything about this, as there’s nothing in law that means they can move them away.

Surveys continue to show that most Britons are pro-choice, although split evenly over whether or not the current 24-week limit should be lowered.

A spokesperson from Abort67, which has faced criticism for its tactics during protests outside clinics, said:

We have been subject to a relentless campaign of false accusations about our behaviour. If the closure of an abortion facility is now being used as part of a parliamentary effort to introduce unnecessary restrictions on freedom of expression, then there needs to be transparency.

We invite any politicians with concerns to come and visit one of our public education campaigns and to see what we are doing, rather than rely on hearsay.

• Picture shows an anti-abortion group protest outside parliament. Photo: Janine Wiedel/Rex Shutterstock

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

16 responses to “Abortion clinics need far better protection”

  1. dennis says:

    propagation is a womans prerogative not a religious totalitarian right. the religious should shut up and go home.

  2. barriejohn says:

    “Public education”; that’s what they’re calling it nowadays, is it?

  3. L.Long says:

    In the USA it is a matter of the religious Aholes have gotten a lock on the rePUKEian party and on schools, so most kids remain ignorant of sex (cuz parents don’t teach it) until they read porn or do sex (both are stupid ways to learn).
    And escalate? All that needs to happen is someone like me trying to get my kid to a clinic and a bunch of Aholes TRY to stop me! I’m dying so have NOTHING to lose and will not be stopped. So my kid gets what she needs and they punish me? How? Jail? where I have free room and board and free medical care which I need???? So escalation is a real possibility if the stupid sheeple continue their ignorant BS.
    In England clearing a path would not be too big a problem as a good peace of hickory works OK.

  4. Melvin Polatnick says:

    Bolsheviks should be recruited to guard the abortion clinics. They will shoot the Bible thumpers down and hang them to a cross. Religious nuts should have no say in the real world, they are only fit to quote mythical hero’s.

  5. Cali Ron says:

    Christians won’t be happy until every person on the planet and their bodies are under their control. Freedom? Sure, they believe in freedom, your free to believe in their god or suffer eternal damnation. It’s all about god’s love. It’s tough love. He love’s mankind so much he’s ready to sentence most of them to eternal damnation…because he loves them so much! Abort a non sentient fetus and your screwed. You can really see the love on the protesters faces.

    Sadly, in America abortion has become a political football (see recent hit piece on Planned Parenthood), with no regard for science and the fact that it’s human beings and control of their own bodies at stake. There is no worse combination than mixing fanatical religion (evangelicals) and extreme politics (tea party).

  6. AgentCormac says:

    There’s a live petition you can sign calling on Theresa May to create an exclusion zone around abortion clinics to keep the bible-bashers at bay. Over 123,000 people have signed so far – but I’m sure any more support you can all give it would be most welcome. You can sign here:

  7. barriejohn says:

    Cali Ron: “He love’s mankind so much he’s ready to sentence most of them to eternal damnation…because he loves them so much!”

    Have you ever seen this one?

    Unfathomable Christian logic!

  8. Brummie says:

    The biggest threat too mankind’s survival is overpopulation. We should be doing all in our power to reduce the birth rate in a VOLUNTARY way, world-wide. Bribery, persuasion. propaganda, abortion choice, early school sex education, voluntary euthanasia. free contraceptive devices in schools, withdrawal of benefits etc. are all legitimate I believe.
    David Attenborough states it clearly. The earth’s resources can’t even sustain the numbers we already have.

  9. Broga says:

    @Brummie: I think it is game over for the planet. The earth is over run by destructive vermin and I do mean us. And at the root of the problem and refusal to implement a solution is religion. If I didn’t have grand children I have become so sick of these planetary suicidal nutters I wouldn’t give a toss.

  10. Angela_K says:

    Don’t like abortion, then don’t have one. The religious are determined to force their perverted ideology on the non-religious and don’t care how savagely they do it or care for the rights and feelings of women faced with a difficult choice. I’m certain the christian cult want to hasten the destruction of our planet due to the bizarre belief that jebus will return.

  11. L.Long says:

    Yes I remember the SCOTUS said the 5ft now used for clinics is OK and safe but neglected to state that they don’t feel all that safe with their own 10 acre limit (numbers may be exaggerated).

  12. Cali Ron says:

    @barriejohn: Spot on, I’m saving that one. So nice of god to give us a choice.

    @Broga: I think the best analogy I’ve heard was cockroaches. We humans breed and multiply just like cockroaches until the habitat can no longer support us. We are very self destructive on a global level. While the christians natter on and whine about abortion and gay marriage the human race is faced with a global water and food shortage on top of the enormous environmental degradation caused by industrialism that threatens the whole human race. “None are so blind as those who refuse to see.”

  13. Trevor Blake says:

    Fortunately these protesters have adopted every single child available in their respected counties. No? Well then. It’s easy to tell someone else to be a parent, I suppose.

  14. Bob says:

    You hypocrites clearly only support free speech when it agrees with you!

  15. AgentCormac says:

    There’s free speech and there’s intimidation, Bob you tosser. And I’d have thought you’d know all about intimidation as you spend your entire life on bended knee before that violent and vengeful god of yours.