William Eichler 29 June 2022

Campaigners call for abortion clinic buffer zone

Campaigners call for abortion clinic buffer zone image
Image: Koca Vehbi / Shutterstock.com.

Campaigners have called on BCP Council to implement a buffer zone around an abortion clinic in Bournemouth to prevent protestors from harassing women and staff.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has voiced its frustration at the council’s apparent reluctance to introduce a public space protection order (PSPO) around its Bournemouth clinic to stop intimidation by anti-abortion campaigners.

BPAS chief of staff Rachael Clarke said her organisation first approached the council in 2017 and has since shared more than 600 pieces of evidence regarding harassment outside the clinic.

‘Women and staff at the BPAS clinic in Bournemouth have been targeted by anti-abortion harassment for many years,’ she said.

‘Despite first meeting with the council in 2017 to ask for help to protect the rights of women accessing essential abortion services, none has been forthcoming.’

‘For BPAS, the situation has become untenable – we need BCP Council to take action, and we need it now,’ she added.

A spokesperson for the council said that the local authority was ‘finalising an options appraisal which will be presented to the interested parties shortly to consider the way forward’. One of these option is to launch a public consultation on a PSPO.

Cllr Bobbie Dove, portfolio holder for Community Safety, said: ‘I called a multi-agency meeting in November 2021 shortly after being confirmed as Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and have since been working with our Anti-Social Behaviour team to consider the evidence and options available to resolve the community concerns relating to the Bournemouth BPAS Clinic.

‘We will shortly be concluding our assessment and a decision on how the Council intends to proceed will be made in due course.’

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