UK: Prayers and activism banned on buffer zone around Bournemouth abortion clinic

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: October 14, 2022

A buffer zone was implemented outside the BPAS clinic in Bournemouth in a bid to deter people from praying or standing with pro-life signs outside the clinic. Anyone that fails to accept the decision could incur a fixed penalty notice of £100 or face court action. Buffer zones have been widely discussed, due to their limitation of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.

Professor David Albert Jones, director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, told Premier News that he disagrees with the Council's action: 

"Freedoms that people have in society, including the freedom to speak and to pray and though people have a right to go about their business, it's also right for people to pray in different circumstances and so I regret this decision."

Councillor Bobbie Dove, member for community safety, commented: "Whilst we acknowledge the right of anyone to conduct a peaceful protest, we had to balance this against the distress caused or likely to be caused, and the detrimental impact of behaviours experienced by those accessing medical services or doing their jobs."


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