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Ask Peers to oppose introducing abortion buffer zones


On Wednesday 16 November, the House of Lords will debate introducing nationwide buffer zones around abortion clinics when the Public Order Bill returns to Parliament. If made law, this would remove the vital practical support provided by volunteers outside abortion clinics for women.

Last month, the House of Commons passed an amendment (NC11) to the Public Order Bill that seeks to introduce 150m buffer zones around abortion clinics across the country. The amendment passed with 297 votes in favour and 110 votes against. 

This amendment has now been added to the Public Order Bill under Clause 9. The Bill is now progressing through the House of Lords.

Clause 9 seeks to criminalise people who interfere “with any person’s decision to access, provide, or facilitate the provision of abortion services in that buffer zone”. The wording “interferes with” is so broadly defined that it includes seeking to influence, merely expressing an opinion; or attempting “to inform … about abortion services”. 

In short, it would effectively ban volunteers from peacefully praying and offering support to women entering abortion clinics. A person found guilty of this offence would be liable (in the first instance) to a prison sentence of six months – and, in further instances, for up to two years’ imprisonment. 

The Government has made it clear that this clause is not compatible with human rights laws. It represents an overt attempt to restrict some of our most important freedoms, including freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and the sharing of information.

The Public Order Bill will reach Committee Stage in the House of Lords on 16 November 2022. At Committee Stage, Peers will go through the proposed legislation line by line and propose changes. We need your help to ensure that as many Peers as possible oppose clause 9, which will establish buffer zones around abortion clinics.

Please enter your postcode in the box above to send an email to Peers asking them to oppose introducing buffer zones.

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Ask Peers to oppose introducing
abortion buffer zones