MSI Reproductive Choices UK comment on UK supreme court judgment that banning anti-choice protests outside Northern Ireland abortion clinics is lawful
London, 7th December 2022
The UK supreme court has ruled that a bill to ban anti-choice protests outside Northern Ireland abortion clinics is ‘lawful’ and does not ‘disproportionately interfere’ with protestors rights.
This judgement means that the Northern Ireland Assembly can legislate to create buffer zones around abortion clinics, protecting those accessing and providing services from anti-choice harassment. Northern Ireland is the first part of the UK to bring such legislation into place.
Jonathan Lord, UK Medical Director at MSI Reproductive Choices, said:
“We welcome the unanimous Supreme Court judgement that a bill to ban anti-abortion activity close to abortion clinics and hospitals is lawful. For far too long those in need of abortion care, their families and our team members have been subjected to unacceptable harassment and intimidation. Whether silent or vocal, solitary or in groups, this behaviour can be deeply distressing, especially for the most vulnerable.
“Anti-choice groups have become emboldened following events in the United States, and this week alone we have had several troubling reports from outside our healthcare facilities. As the judges identified, anyone who wishes to access healthcare should have a reasonable expectation of being able to do so without being confronted by behaviour designed to diminish their autonomy.
“We are delighted for our partners and allies in Northern Ireland and look forward to quick action in Scotland, England and Wales to enable everybody in the UK to access the healthcare they need without fear of intimidation, bullying and harassment.”
In October, MPs in the House of Commons voted for a similar proposal in favour of national abortion clinic buffer zones across England and Wales, which is still making its way through the House of Lords. To read more about this news, click here: MSI Reproductive Choices UK comment on UK Government vote in favour of abortion clinic buffer zones in England and Wales
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