Ealing Council has announced the decision to renew the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) which protects MSI Reproductive Choices UK’s West London abortion clinic from harassment by anti-choice groups. The decision comes into effect on 19th February. The PSPO will be renewed from April.
The PSPO creates a Safe Access Zone (also known as a ‘buffer zone’) around our clinic in Ealing.
In 2018, our Ealing clinic made history by implementing the first ever Safe Access Zone around an abortion clinic in England. Prior to this, people accessing care, our frontline team members, and local residents had to put up with anti-choice behaviours, which include taking photos or filming, following clients and team members up the street, and barricading the door to try to stop people from entering the clinic.
The renewal of this groundbreaking Safe Access Zone will mean that people can continue to access essential healthcare services in private and with dignity, free from harassment and intimidation.
“Nobody should face harassment or intimidation while accessing healthcare.”
Commenting on the news, Louise McCudden, UK Head of External Affairs at MSI Reproductive Choices, said:
“We are delighted that Ealing Council has renewed the Safe Access Zone around our abortion clinic. Nobody should face harassment or intimidation while accessing healthcare.”
What is happening with national abortion clinic Safe Access Zones?
In recent years, MSI UK joined partners in advocating for Safe Access Zones to be introduced outside all abortion clinics across England and Wales. In May 2023, we were delighted to celebrate success as Safe Access Zones were officially signed into law, following cross party support in both House of Parliament.
However, national Safe Access Zones are still not in place. In December, the government drafted proposed guidance around how the law should be implemented and enforced, and this guidance was put out for public consultation – with the aim of having the zones in place by spring.
Commenting on the government’s proposed guidance, Louise McCudden, UK Head of External Affairs at MSI Reproductive Choices, said:
“Parliament has voted to introduce similar zones around every clinic in England and Wales but the first draft of the implementation guidance from the Home Office was very concerning. It left many loopholes in place for anti-choice groups to continue their harassment. We hope the Home Secretary listens to the views of frontline healthcare staff and the people accessing abortion care, so we can get the zones up and running in line with what Parliament, and the public, want.”
No one should face harassment when accessing or providing abortion care.
To learn more about the journey to abortion clinic safe access zones and why we’ve advocated for national legislation, click on the links below: