NATIONAL: Council introduces ban on protestors demonstrating outside abortion clinics

Religious Anti-abortion march -   The two protest groups face eachother in the grounds of St Mary's hospital        Picture: Vernon Nash PPP-171028-180707006
Religious Anti-abortion march - The two protest groups face eachother in the grounds of St Mary's hospital Picture: Vernon Nash PPP-171028-180707006
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CAMPAIGNERS said they were hopeful this was ‘just the beginning’ after a London council voted to introduce the first ban on protesters demonstrating outside an abortion clinic.

Ealing Council’s cabinet voted unanimously in favour of allowing a Public Spaces Protection Order to create a protest-free safe zone outside a Marie Stopes clinic in the west London borough.

Pro-choice demonstrators, including the group SisterSupporter, cheered and applauded as the cabinet members voted the proposal through.

Anna Veglio-White, co-founder of SisterSupporter said: ‘It’s pretty incredible, we just hope we see the effect of this all over the country.’

John Hansen-Brevetti, clinical operations manager at the clinic, said women had been told the ghost of their foetus would haunt them, had been told ‘mummy mummy don’t kill me’, had holy water thrown on them and rosary beads thrust at them.

He said: ‘We’re also so hopeful that this is just the beginning, that other councils are watching and taking note, that Parliament itself, the Home Affairs Select Committee, will continue to look at this issue and find a solution that works not just for Ealing but for the whole of the UK.’

The order is likely to come into place on April 23 and will be reviewed in six months.

It comes after a string of abortion protests outside the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) at St Mary’s Hospital in Milton.

As previously reported in The News, protests in the city in October heated up between campaigners for pro-choice and anti-abortion supporters.

Speaking after the protests, one clinic staff member said: ‘They pray loudly and force leaflets upon people. I felt uncomfortable, angry, and safety-conscious.’

Portsmouth City Council have voted to ‘fully explore every available option to create a buffer zone’.