Calls For Buffer Zone at Abortion Clinic in Bournemouth

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: June 28, 2022

The abortion clinic in Bournemouth has been calling for a buffer zone around the facility, due to the daily vigils outside the clinic that have been taking place over the years, in order to prevent pro-life protesters from approaching the women going to the clinic, as well as the staff that works there. Rachel Clarke, from the mentioned clinic, said "[Bournemouth] is one of the worst-hit clinics in the country". A buffer zone could undermine the freedom of assembly and freedom of speech of pro-life activists.

Pro-abortion groups hoped buffer zones around abortion clinics eventually become the norm, but since 2018 only a few have been created.

Pro-life campaigners that gather outside the Bournemouth clinic say their purpose is to offer help to the women seeking an abortion. They do so by handing out leaflets, offering prayers, and hanging baby clothes in the bushes outside the clinic, according to a pro-choice organization.

The same group has petitioned the BCP Council for a "Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) - a legally-protected space - to create a buffer zone around the clinic as soon as possible". The petition had more than 2,300 signatures, which is sufficient for it to be referred for debate at a meeting of the full council. The BCP Council said in a statement: "We are in the process of finalizing an options appraisal which will be presented to the interested parties shortly to consider the way forward. One of which is to launch a public consultation on a PSPO for the vicinity immediately around the Bournemouth BPAS Clinic. Careful consideration of all options will be taken prior to determining the way forward".

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