Jeremy Corbyn among 113 MPs demanding ban on protests outside abortion clinics
Jeremy Corbyn is among more than 100 MPs calling on the Government to introduce “buffer zones” to protect women from abusive protestors outside abortion clinics.
The letter by Labour MP Rupa Huq to Home Secretary Amber Rudd has been signed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the partial legalisation of abortions in Britain.
The move prompted by incidents in Ms Huq's own Ealing and Acton constituency, including protestors holding up “distressing and graphic yet grossly inaccurate images of aborted foetuses”, filming women entering and leaving the premises, and repeatedly calling them “murderers”.
Alongside her party’s leader, co-signatories include Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, the SNP’s Westminster spokesman Ian Blackford, Green MP Caroline Lucas and prominent Tories including Michael Fabricant and Zac Goldsmith.
Ms Huq said the protestors are “not seeking to change the law”, but are merely “targeting individual women who have come to a difficult decision and who are seeking to access lawful healthcare”.
“That is why I am asking you to bring forward legislation to introduce buffer zones outside abortion clinics and pregnancy advisory bureaux – not to stop protests, but to ask protesters to instead make use of any of the many places they could protest – from Parliament Square to town centres to Speaker’s Corner,” she wrote.
“The women accessing clinics are not seeking debate – they are trying to make their own personal decision about their own pregnancy.
“And it must be our job as parliamentarians to protect that right.”
Ealing councillors voted overwhelmingly to prevent anti-abortion groups from protesting outside a Marie Stopes clinic in the area, and are considering turning to anti-social behaviour powers in order to impose their ruling.
Last week in the Commons last week, Ms Rudd said “it is imperative that women have access to safe and legal abortion.”
She added: “Although we of course agree that public protest must be allowed, it must not in any way be allowed to intimidate women on the way to receiving the health services they want.
In response to the letter, a Home Office spokesperson said: “We will carefully consider the important issues raised in this letter, and work with the police and local authorities to ensure they are able to make full use of their existing powers to prevent this kind of behaviour.
“We will also explore whether any further action is needed to ensure clinic staff and patients can go about their lawful business free from harassment, offence or alarm.”