Abortion Clinic Censorship Zone Amendment
Abortion Clinic Censorship Zone Amendment

Thank you for reaching out to me about the issue of buffer zones around abortion clinics.

Abortion is a sensitive and emotive issue, and I respect there are strongly held views on all sides of the debate.

My personal belief is that those who want one should have the right to choose a safe, legal abortion in all areas of the UK. 

It is vital that anyone considering an abortion is able to access impartial, non-directive and clinical information on pregnancy choices without the fear of being harassed or intimidated. It is also vital that staff members in clinics are able to do their jobs without harassment or intimidation. I am therefore very concerned by reports of intimidation from protesters as they enter abortion clinics.

As you may be aware, an amendment has recently been tabled to the Public Order Bill which proposes to introduce buffer zones around abortion clinics. If successful, it would make it an offence to interfere with access to, or the provision of, abortion services.

However, the Government has previously indicated that it would not introduce such a change. In 2021, during a debate on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, the Government advised it would not support an amendment to introduce buffer zones for abortion clinics, stating it believed the localised approach of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs), with councils using the orders, is the way forward.

In my view, it is very important that we look at ways of ensuring that women seeking advice, and staff members in clinics, can feel safe from intimidation and harassment.

Likewise I believe that a woman’s right to choose is a human rights matter and that no one takes abortion lightly. What is more, I believe that every woman deserves access to safe and legal health procedures, and that includes abortion.

I never take any decision that will impact on abortion rights lightly and am always open to a healthy and respectful dialogue. Ultimately I believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare.

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