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Should MN support a BPAS call for non-protest 'buffer zones' outside abortion clinics? Tell MNHQ what you think

(807 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 20-Nov-14 14:47:33

Hello all

We've been contacted by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, who want to know whether Mumsnet can support a call they're going to make for buffer zones around abortion clinics - and as ever we'd like to run it past MNers to see what you think.

Here's what BPAS say:

'Over recent years there has been an escalation in anti-abortion activity outside clinics in the UK. Women attending pregnancy advice and abortion centres are now regularly exposed to groups of anti-abortion activists standing directly outside. Many of these protesters bear large banners of dismembered foetuses, distribute leaflets containing misleading information about abortion, and follow and question women as they enter or leave the centres. Often, these people carry cameras strapped to their chests or positioned on a tripod. Women report feeling intimidated and distressed by this activity as they try to access a lawful healthcare service in confidence. Pregnant staff at clinics have on occasion needed escorting from the building by the police. Recently, NHS staff on premises where a clinic is located have felt so intimidated by the presence outside they have asked for the abortion service to be withdrawn. The closure of a service as a result of anti-abortion activity would be unprecedented.'

'We believe enough is enough.'

'One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. We are a society which values freedom of speech, but also one where the vast majority of us support a woman’s access to abortion services. The right to protest needs to be balanced with the right of pregnant women to obtain advice and treatment in confidence and free from intimidation. For those who wish to campaign to restrict women’s reproductive choices, there are plenty of opportunities and locations in which to do so. The space immediately outside a clinic need not and should not not be one of them.'

'Women should feel confident that they can approach centres for advice and services without fear of intimidation, or anxious that their identity will be compromised by protesters filming outside. Establishing access zones free from anti-abortion activists around clinics would provide the reassurance and security women need. We urge all political parties to act to protect women as they make their own personal decision about their pregnancy. Women deserve nothing less.'

We know MNers tend to feel fairly strongly about abortion and that there are views on both sides of this debate - so do please let us know what you think.



ballsballsballs Thu 20-Nov-14 14:52:09

I think it's a great idea.

squishinglittlefatcheeks Thu 20-Nov-14 14:56:15

Regardless of anyone's personal opinion, every woman has the right to choose and the right to confidentiality.
Protests such as these are incredibly aggressive in their nature and completely bypass the fact that many of these women are already distressed in their situation.

Isitmebut Thu 20-Nov-14 14:56:31

As do I, time is a crucial factor, and women need the freedom of choice without being intimidated.

MarrogfromMars Thu 20-Nov-14 15:02:21

Yes. Sad that they're needed.

christinarossetti Thu 20-Nov-14 15:04:37

I 100% support this.

I think it's also important to note that services like Marie Stopes (outside which there is usually a gaggle of these 'protestors') also provide contraception.

The sites of these protests don't only intimidate and point the finger at women accessing information when they're actually pregnant.

Regardless of views on abortion, it's reasonable that women should have the freedom to make informed and lawful healthcare choices/gather information without being forcibly subjected to the unwanted and extremist opinions of others.

mupperoon Thu 20-Nov-14 15:07:12

I support this.

Sabrinnnnnnnna Thu 20-Nov-14 15:12:27

Yes, I would fully support this.

CMOTDibbler Thu 20-Nov-14 15:12:34

I would absolutely support this - women should have the right to go to access services and support without being harassed.

QofeTheRaven Thu 20-Nov-14 15:12:58

I absolutely 100% support this.

RustyParker Thu 20-Nov-14 15:13:16

Yes, please support this MNHQ.

At an already distressing time, women wishing to access abortion shouldn't have to be subjected to harassment and intimidation.

I can't believe the police don't move the protesters on and we instead have to petition for buffer zones. But if buffer zones make women feel less targetted and intimidated then we have to have them.

livelablove Thu 20-Nov-14 15:21:27

I am a Christian and I don't really agree with abortion, but I would support this. I think we have to remember that these women are in a vulnerable condition and need help and support.
These protesters are only making the pro life cause look like a bunch of bullying nutters. If they really want to protest there are good ways of doing it.

MollyMaDurga Thu 20-Nov-14 15:26:06

Yes! I support this, I feel that it is very important to continue support for women seeking abortion. The right to abortion is under threat of opposition groups and the way they at times intimidate women is not on. Enough indeed.

Thehedgehogsong Thu 20-Nov-14 15:29:39

I would support this issue. Poor women trying to make a life changing and heart wrenching decision being confronted like that!

Archfarchnad Thu 20-Nov-14 15:32:37

Yes, please support this.

TheVioletTinsel Thu 20-Nov-14 15:35:43

Yes please support this

SmilingandWaving Thu 20-Nov-14 15:36:34

I would definitely support this.

LucyInTheSkyWithDonuts Thu 20-Nov-14 15:39:48

I would definitely support this move by BPAS.

SeafrontDreams Thu 20-Nov-14 15:39:58

Yes, this should be supported. Being the focus of or having to walk past pro life groups to access clinics can be distressing at what is already a very difficult time

caravanista13 Thu 20-Nov-14 15:41:07


heyday Thu 20-Nov-14 15:47:01

I truly believe that those opposed to abortion have a right to their views and to free and open expression of that viewpoint. However, I also believe that campaigning outside an abortion clinic is totally wrong.
My friends teenage daughter was recently raped and her life threatened by her violent boyfriend. When she fell pregnant (not planned) she made the agonising decision to abort the foetus. She was very young, already traumatised and she then had to endure the hecklers outside the abortion clinic. They were very full on, had banners which were very brutal and several of them had young babies/ children in prams to add to the trauma.
They certainly made an awful day even more harrowing. Most women do not come to the decision to abort lightly and do not need this additional pressure.
Many anti abortionist are part of very supportive charities that offer real help to pregnant women. One organisation was very helpful and supportive when my daughter got pregnant and considered abortion as she was very young. They gave her so much support and it was gratefully received.
The people out lobbying abortion clinics need to have some restrictions placed upon them. I appreciate that they feel very strongly against abortion but a woman should be able to attend these clinics without fear of intimidation or of being filmed.

MardyBra Thu 20-Nov-14 15:48:48

Yes. 100%.
And thanks for consulting us MNHQ.

MrsPear Thu 20-Nov-14 15:49:47


There is a time and a place for debate with regards to abortion and outside the clinic is not one of them.

Badvocinapeartree Thu 20-Nov-14 15:50:28


TondelayoSchwarzkopf Thu 20-Nov-14 15:51:09

Yes, please support this.

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