Sister Supporter, a pro-choice, anti-harassment organisation, are calling on BCP council to set up a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to protect staff and patients from harassment at an abortion clinic in Bournemouth.
Since 2017, staff at Bournemouth’s British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) clinic have gathered over 600 pieces of evidence showing harassment. This includes people following and challenging women and staff entering the clinic, handing out misleading leaflets, and holding up distressing signs. Bournemouth’s BPAS clinic has suffered this harassment for decades.
Under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, councils are allowed to draft and implement PSPOs in response to particular issues affecting their communities. These give local authorities the power to ensure public spaces can be used free from the risk of anti-social behaviour. PSPOs have been used to prevent abortion clinic harassment in Ealing, Manchester and Richmond with great success.
Katherine O’Brien, Associate Director of Communications and Campaigns at BPAS, said: “Women in Bournemouth should be able to access a lawful, confidential health service free from intimidation, and our staff should be able to provide this care without facing harassment.
“We urge Bournemouth Council to do the right thing and bring forward a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) as a matter of urgency.”
Jess Bone, campaigner at Sister Supporter, said: “We know that before the pandemic, more than 100,000 women and pregnant people every year experienced anti-choice harassment at an abortion clinic, causing them to feel unnecessary shame and distress."
“Although the Government has so far failed to put national legislation in place to tackle this problem, local councils already have the power, through PSPOs, to stop harassment outside clinics.
“We are urging Bournemouth Council to do the right thing, act now, and put a buffer zone around the clinic to protect patients and staff.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Sister Supporter is calling on the public to write to BCP council to ask them to protect people using Bournemouth’s abortion clinic. Contact councillors: Anne Filer, Roberto Rocca and David Kelsey, asking for a buffer zone to be implemented using this template email found here.
Spread the word! Use the hashtag #BournemouthBuffer on instagram to show support and follow @sistersupporterbournemouth on instagram to keep up to date.