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Protests outside abortion clinics: tell the Home Office what you think

(48 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 25-Jan-18 10:13:57


As some of you will know, Mumsnet has supported the BPAS Back Off campaign to end intimidating anti-abortion protests outside abortion clinics. We signed up following this discussion in which MNers told us they strongly support the campaign to have exclusion 'buffer zones' outside abortion clinics.

In response to this campaign, the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has set up a consultation for members of the public to send in their views on whether the police need additional powers to combat protests outside clinics.

You can fill in the consultation survey here, and BPAS has produced a briefing for those who support the campaign and wish to fill in the consultation: you can see that here.

The consultation closes on February 19.

As ever, feel free to use this thread to let us know what you think.


JJPP123 Thu 25-Jan-18 11:25:23

Im pro-life but the women who protest outside abortion clinics are abhorrent. I can't imagine it's an easy decision for most of the women there and the propaganda they try to force on people is generally outdated, inaccurate and sometimes conplete nonsense. It's unimaginably cruel to try to lambast women in that situation.

SleepFreeZone Thu 25-Jan-18 11:45:31

I had to have a termination for medical reasons in September 2016. Because I was so far along I had to push for the surgical option as I didn’t think I could mentally deal with medical management. I was erred to BPAS in Twickenham and earned about the protesters.

Because I arrived at the clinic so early there was only one who was obviously waiting for her buddies to rock up as she had her placard at her feet and didn’t approach me. I was so totally devastated that day that I really don’t know how I would have reacted if a bunch of them had harassed me. I suspect I would have screamed a lot and burst into tears. Just awful that at such a tragically sad time of my life I had to contemplate harassment for having to terminate a pregnancy that I desperately, desperately wanted to keep.

Maverick66 Thu 25-Jan-18 11:48:02

I agree with jjp^^
A decision to have an abortion is not a decision taken lightly.
Yes, there are those who will argue some women use it as contraception choice but, really?
That is just ridiculous and only the zealots and fanatics that protest outside abortion clinics would truly believe this.
I am pro choice. Abortion under any circumstance is not a choice I would necessarily make but I certainly wouldn't judge someone else for making such a choice.

SleepFreeZone Thu 25-Jan-18 11:48:10

Just to add I was told by staff that those particular protesters are paid to be there by some American evangelical society.

Snowdrop18 Thu 25-Jan-18 12:27:06

Thanks for this, I will fill it in and hopefully we can keep replying to it and bump it so that more MNers see it.

Viviennemary Thu 25-Jan-18 12:56:12

I am pro-life too for the most part. And I disagree with protests outside those clinics. They should be stopped.

AmberTopaz Thu 25-Jan-18 15:12:18

I am pro choice but I found this survey difficult to complete. Few of the questions seemed to be aimed at members of the public rather than protesters / clinic employees?

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 25-Jan-18 15:43:11


I am pro choice but I found this survey difficult to complete. Few of the questions seemed to be aimed at members of the public rather than protesters / clinic employees?

Hi Amber - yes some of the questions are only applicable if you've been involved in protests (or counter-protests) or have personal experience of seeing a protest. I think you can leave those questions blank though if you don't have anything to add. The BPAS briefing we linked in the OP has some guidance about this.

flowers for SleepFreeZone

riledandharrassed Thu 25-Jan-18 16:35:15

Filled in ! Posting to bump


OJM1 Thu 25-Jan-18 16:53:25

I think BPAS also has a simpler version of the Home Office form on the campaign website -

PoshPenny Thu 25-Jan-18 17:08:33

I supported a family member through a termination about 2 years ago and I was outraged at the earnest young man stood outside the BPAS trying to give a leaflet to everyone going in. How bloody dare he, does he not realise that it's one of the hardest decisions a woman is ever likely to make? Not one he's ever going to have to make is it? I still thank my lucky stars that the one time I was considering a termination, I was saved from making the final decision because I ended up with an ectopic pregnancy and matters were taken out of my hands in the form of emergency surgery to remove a ruptured Fallopian tube. Nobody needs that harassment and protesters should not be allowed to harass those going in.

LynetteScavo Thu 25-Jan-18 20:08:38

I got halfway through the form and didn't complete it because I don't actually have any experience of protests or knowledge of how often/where they occur.

I've noticed a few posters in this thread who've mentioned they are pro-life...something I've never seen in MN thank you to those posters.

I'm not sure whether I'm "pro-life" or "pro-choice" (please don't try and tell me what you think I am!) but I do think believe in 2018 it's necessary for all women to be able to access safe abortions, and they should not be hassled by anyone during the process.

Am posting so I can complete the form later.

jaimelannistersgoldenhand Thu 25-Jan-18 20:20:48

Call me naive but I always imagined protesting outside abortion clinics to happen in the US rather than UK. 😵

newtlover Thu 25-Jan-18 21:03:23

sadly it IS happening here we need to take this opportunity to get it stopped

Coyoacan Thu 25-Jan-18 22:45:58

I have been spared an abortion myself, but believe no woman should have to endure those protests.

Even a pro-life friend of mine was furious with these activists in the city centre one day, as her child has to see their appalling lurid posters.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Thu 25-Jan-18 23:05:37

Let's not forget abortion is a completely legal NHS service. So essentially protesters are there to stop women accessing a completely legal NHS service. In no other context would that be acceptable. If people wish to protest the existence of this completely legal NHS service then there are other places to do so.

LineyS Thu 25-Jan-18 23:10:13

That survey is for organisations and their commissioned clients. Not sure why it's on MN without making that clear up front.

LineyS Thu 25-Jan-18 23:10:24

That survey is for organisations and their commissioned clients. Not sure why it's on MN without making that clear up front.

yorkshireyummymummy Thu 25-Jan-18 23:55:14

I suppose I haven’t thought too much about the individuals involved in protests so it has never occurred to me that there would be men there. How CF is that? Protesting about a legal medical procedure that he will never ever have to decide to do or not!! I’m amazed you managed to not give him a mouthful. I would have stuffed his bloody leaflet where the sun don’t shine!

5BlueHydrangea Fri 26-Jan-18 01:22:47

I am pro-life but really wouldn't feel comfortable protesting outside a clinic like this. I do think some people appear to treat abortion lightly and convenient but I also know that they are the minority.
I know 2 men who (separately in different parts of the country) have protested in this way and feel very strongly about it. Very focused.
I do however agree with a PP, as much as I disagree with the concept of abortion there is most definitely a need for it to be done in safe environment.we couldn't justify going back to the ways of the past with 'back street ' abortions and all the complications that came with it.

LineyS Fri 26-Jan-18 01:34:34

I think it's very interesting that posters who are against abortion (ie wouldn't choose one for themselves) would still prefer to keep abortion rights as they are for those that would. Without fear of intimidation.

I have a lot of respect for that; and for those posters.

And I'd like to see women able to access those procedures as early as possible. Very early. Not waiting. Not put off. Not by resources or protests.

TheVastMajority Fri 26-Jan-18 11:39:54

I'd like the protesters and other pro-life supporters to give up 1 or 2 days a week to help a single mum with childcare, and give up a percentage of their salary to financially support a child born in challenging circumstances. ONly then will they have the right to protest, when they are prepared to support the consequences of preventing abortions.

rcit Fri 26-Jan-18 13:42:32

I have not been in the position of needing to make the decision to have an abortion, fortunately. Whilst I do not think that I would choose to have one, I cannot know for sure as it hasn’t happened.

I do think it’s absolutely abhorrent and ignorant to protest outside abortion clinics and harass people. If pro-life protestors want to have their voices heard, then they need to go through the appropriate channels.

I think there should probably be some changes made to make it an offence to harass people outside clinics but at the same time, some sort of care package/help should be introduced for women who have (let’s say) 4 or more abortions. Because anything could be happening to that woman, from getting raped repeatedly to using abortion as contraception.

Noeuf Fri 26-Jan-18 13:48:30

Tbh the survey doesn't work for me. I experienced protesters outside the clinic I accessed and had absolutely no idea what was going on - didn't realise this was a thing at all. My friend decided to start arguing with them which was awful.

However I don't have enough regular knowledge to answer most of the questions which don't seem aimed to capture experiences but more regular data on the type and frequency of protests.

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