William Eichler 30 May 2022

Doctors call for abortion clinic ‘buffer zones’

Doctors call for abortion clinic ‘buffer zones’ image
Image: Koca Vehbi / Shutterstock.com.

A healthcare body representing 14,000 doctors has called on the Government to introduce national legislation to prevent anti-abortion protesters intimidating patients and healthcare professionals.

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) renewed the call for legal buffer zones around abortion clinics after Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced an emergency summit to look at the issue.

The UK's first buffer zone was set up outside the Marie Stopes abortion clinic in the London borough of Ealing in 2018. The council issued a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to prevent protestors gathering around the clinic.

Dr Asha Kasliwal, president of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said: ‘Harassment and intimidation outside clinics take many forms and causes great distress for women and girls accessing abortion care. It also makes it difficult, and demoralising, for healthcare professionals to deliver legal, essential sexual and reproductive healthcare.

‘The only way to ensure patients are able to access healthcare free of harassment and intimidation is the legal implementation of buffer zones around abortion clinics across the UK.

‘We call on the Home Office and devolved Governments to bring forward national legislation to protect the safety of people accessing abortion services and healthcare professionals providing care.’

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