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Southwark Labour reaffirms commitment to ending harassment outside abortion clinics

26 January 2018
Southwark Labour’s Cabinet Members have reaffirmed their commitment to tackling harassment outside abortion clinics, following a motion in November’s Council Assembly meeting. This motion, which was unanimously supported, recognised that while the right to protest should be respected, this right should not compromise the ability of women to have a legal and safe abortion.  

The motion also called on Southwark Council to support the campaign which has been led by Labour MP Rupa Huq to legalise “buffer zones” outside abortion clinics. Amber Rudd MP, the Home Secretary, has subsequently ordered an in-depth assessment of protests outside abortion and family planning clinics, as current legislation only gives limited powers to local authorities who want to clamp down on harassment outside clinics.  

Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Cabinet Member for Communities, Safety and Leisure said:

“We are completely committed to tackling harassment of people using family planning and abortion clinics. Women should be able to access health care without feeling intimidated, harassed or abused, and any instances of this are completely unacceptable.

Unfortunately, at the moment, the law makes it difficult for us to implement a Public Space Protection Order, as there needs to be substantial and detailed evidence of harassment, which we don’t currently have.  

We will work on gathering evidence, but I’d also like to encourage anyone who has experienced harassment outside an abortion clinic in Southwark to report this to the Police or the Council confidentially.  We will continue to work with abortion providers, other local authorities and the police to do all we can to keep women safe from harassment and intimidation.”  


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