MSI Reproductive Choices UK comment on UK Government vote in favour of national legislation on abortion clinic buffer zones
London, 18th October 2022
Today, the House of Commons has voted in favour of national legislation on abortion clinic buffer zones in England and Wales.
MSI Reproductive Choices’ UK Advocacy and Public Affairs Advisor Louise McCudden said:
“Today’s vote marks a huge victory for reproductive rights. This will protect over 100,000 women a year, who will finally be able to access the healthcare to which they are legally entitled free from intimidation and harassment.
“For decades, our teams around the country have been forced to witness the cruel tactics of anti-abortion groups who have had a free pass to harass people attending our clinics, invade their space and attempt to block their right to healthcare.
“This landmark decision marks the culmination of years of inspirational campaigning by groups across the country and we are incredibly grateful to all the MPs who supported this amendment.
“At long last, everyone will have the right to access vital reproductive healthcare with safety, dignity, and privacy, no matter where in the country they happen to live.”
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What happens next?
MPs voted for this amendment in the House of Commons, but it won’t be implemented until the House of Lords has voted for it too. Here is what will happen next: as the Public Order Bill began in the House of Commons, it will now progress through the House of Lords. The House of Lords gets the opportunity to debate and scrutinise the Bill. The Bill has now passed Second Reading, so the next step is Committee Stage. At Committee Stage, the Lords go through the Bill line by line. This stage usually takes about a week but unlike in the House of Commons, at Committee Stage in the Lords, there is no restriction from the government about remit or time limit, so it can take longer. After that, the Bill moves on to Report Stage, and then on to Third Reading when the Lords scrutinise the legislation to make sure it will be effective. Finally, both Houses must agree on each other’s amendments and wording. This can result in a back-and-forth process between the Lords and the Commons, known as ‘ping pong.’
To find out more
To read more about abortion clinic buffer zones and why we have been campaigning for national legislation, read our blogs at the links below:
- Why we advocate for national legislation on abortion clinic buffer zones
- Will there ever be abortion clinic buffer zones?
To read more about buffer zones currently in place around our clinics in West London and Manchester, click on the links below: