UK – Letter to the Home Secretary re buffer zones for abortion clinics nationally

In 2018, the UK Home Office conducted a review of the evidence forbuffer zones around all abortion clinics, to prevent women and staff beingharassed by anti-abortion groups and individuals. The Home Office response was thatnational buffer zones would not be a “proportionate’ solution” as the level ofharassment was not serious enough to warrant it.

Following a Freedom of Information request, national abortion provider Bpasdiscovered that the evidence given to the Home Secretary, on which the decisionwas based, was incomplete. Evidence from medical bodies and professionals wascompletely ignored, for example, and no evidence from the more than 1,300individual accounts by people who were harassed, submitted by Bpas and MarieStopes, were included in the evidence considered. Claims from anti-choiceprotesters were included without apparent questioning. For example, the claim thatfor their own safety, anti-abortion protesters had to film the people they wereharassing, and that the leaflets they were handing out contained informationthat abortion providers do not share, such as the totally false claim that abortioncauses breast cancer.

Moreover, a note by one civil servant described the position of the HomeOffice like this: “There is need to beseen to do something but don’t want to actually do something.”

The UK organisations shown in the group of logos above sent a letter tothe Home Secretary asking her to reconsider the decision, based on all theinformation originally submitted. Their letter is here.

SOURCE: E-mail from Bpas, 22 October 2019