A GROUP that has been holding a public prayer vigil outside an abortion clinic could be banned from the area.
The 40 Days For Life group held a prayer vigil outside St Mary’s Hospital in Milton Road, Portsmouth, from September 27 to November 5.
A motion at a Portsmouth City Council meeting tomorrow could ban the group from praying outside the hospital by introducing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) on the site.
Lisa Butler from 40 Days For Life Portsmouth said: ‘You don’t have to agree with us on abortion to stand up for our right to peacefully pray outside the hospital.
‘What is there to stop them from being lobbied by Southern Rail to ban rail union members peacefully protesting outside local railway stations or by fracking lobbyists to have anti-fracking groups banned from protesting at fracking sites?
‘All members of the prayer group signed a statement of peace before attending the vigil and at no stage have we harassed or intimidated any women going to the BPAS abortion clinic.
‘We would like to have the opportunity to meet with the council to discuss any issues that have been raised about our prayer vigil and work together towards a solution rather than going down the costly, stressful, and socially divisive process of bringing in a PSPO.’
Cllr Will Purvis, who proposed the motion, said: ‘Comparing it to Southern Rail is hardly a reasonable comparison.
‘There has been quite a large number of people who have approached us about the issue, from patients to staff and local residents.
‘I think that the key is that it’s not a motion on abortion, it’s just about public order – people can have whatever views they want, but this isn’t the right place to do it.’