This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government
Petition Buffer zones for abortion clinics
I was shocked that it is legal for people to protest and have recording equipment so close to the entrance of these clinics. Abortion is not illegal in the UK and nor should it be. Women should be able to visit these clinics without fear,harassment or intimidation.
Last November over a million people watched a video of a woman confronting protesters outside an abortion clinic.
Please sign this petition calling on all the parties to commit to changing the law to set exclusion zones to stop protesting outside abortion clinics.
This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months
This response was given on 26 February 2016
Peaceful protest is a vital part of our democratic society. Current laws in place provide protection against actions by protesters that may cause others to feel intimidated or harassed.
Read the response in full
While peaceful protest is a vital part of our democratic society, there is a balance to be struck between the rights of those who wish to peacefully protest and the rights of others, such as clinic staff and patients, to go about their business free from harassment and intimidation.
This Government is clear that rights to peaceful protest do not extend to harassment or intimidating behaviour. Like all members of the public, protesters are subject to the law and all suspected criminal offences will be robustly investigated and dealt with by the police.
The law provides protection against harassment and intimidation, and the police have a range of powers to manage protests. This includes powers under the Public Order Act 1986 which make it an offence to display words or images that may intentionally cause harassment, alarm or offence. Conditions can also be set on the location, duration, and numbers attending a public assembly. The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 gives the police dispersal powers in public places, to prevent or stop members of the public being harassed, alarmed and distressed and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 prohibits a person from pursuing a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another person to do something they are entitled to do, or under no obligation to do.