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Ask your MP to oppose Rupa Huq’s abortion clinic censorship zone amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

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Ask your MP to oppose Rupa Huq’s abortion clinic censorship zone amendment

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Rupa Huq censorship zone

On Thursday, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill Committee will consider an amendment from Labour MP Rupa Huq to mandate censorship zones outside abortion clinics across the country.

Censorship zones (also known as ‘buffer’ or ‘safe’ zones) would effectively ban volunteers from peacefully praying and offering support to women entering abortion clinics. Yet hundreds of women have been helped by pro-life vigils, and current laws protect women if they face harassment.

This amendment would criminalise people who interfere “with any person’s decision to access, provide, or facilitate the provision of abortion services in that buffer zone”. However, “interferes with” is very broadly defined and would include anyone who “informs or attempts to inform about abortion services by any means” within 150 metres of an abortion clinic.

Under the terms of the amendment, a person guilty of offence is liable, in the first instance, to imprisonment for up to 6 months and/or an unlimited fine, and on further instances up to 2 years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

A large review undertaken by the Home Office concluded that “. . .introducing national buffer zones would not be a proportionate response, considering the experiences of the majority of hospitals and clinics, and considering that the majority of activities are more passive in nature. In making my decision, I am also aware that legislation already exists to restrict protest activities that cause harm to others”.

Censorship zones infringe on free speech, and it is not just pro-life advocates who oppose them. A number of prominent human rights groups and campaigners, all of whom support abortion, oppose the introduction of censorship zones, including Peter Tatchell, the Manifesto Club, Big Brother Watch, Index on Censorship and the Freedom Association.

Please enter your postcode in the box above to email your MP requesting they oppose the amendment tabled by Rupa Huq MP to introduce censorship zones outside abortion clinics.

Rupa Huq Censorship

Ask your MP to oppose Rupa Huq’s abortion clinic censorship zone amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill