FPA is pleased that the government has recognised the deeply negative experiences some woman face while accessing abortion services, but we are disappointed that Home Secretary, Sajid Javid has chosen not to take action to protect them.
The government’s own review found that 10% of abortion services in England and Wales had experienced protestors outside. Introducing legislation to provide ‘buffer zones’ around abortion clinics would protect women from distress and harassment during what may be a very sensitive time.
A decision not to act means that abortion services must rely on council-led Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) being implemented in their local area in order to provide a safe space for women accessing care.
Women in Northern Ireland receive even less protection, with councils unable to introduce PSPOs. FPA sees this first hand, with our Belfast office enduring daily protests, visitors being harassed and, in one case, a staff member being physically assaulted.
We will continue to campaign for the rights of all women to safely access abortion services without fear of harassment or intimidation.