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

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

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  • Please oppose the abortion clinic censorship zone amendment to the Public Order Bill

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Rupa Huq MP has tabled an amendment (NC1) to the Public Order Bill to introduce censorship zones outside abortion clinics.

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 already protect women if they face harassment.

The amendment is being brought forward by Dr Rupa Huq MP, who attempted to introduce the same legislation last year, but decided not to take it to a vote at the last minute following substantial Parliamentary and public opposition.

If made law, the broadly-worded amendment would mean the criminalisation of anyone within 150 metres of an abortion clinic who is offering a woman practical, emotional, or financial support to be able to continue her pregnancy, if she were unsure about her decision. 

Under the terms of the amendment, a person guilty of the offence (anyone who attempts to advise, persuade, or otherwise express an opinion outside abortion clinics and hospitals offering abortion) is subject to severe criminal punishment – 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.

The Government has already considered the issue of censorship zones in depth, concluding in 2018 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”.  

A similar proposal to introduce censorship zones in Northern Ireland is currently before the UK Supreme Court as there are questions about whether they comply with European human rights laws.  

The proposal is also radically out of step with the opinions of the general public. A poll from Savanta ComRes showed that only 21% of the population support the introduction of nationwide ‘censorship zones’ around abortion clinics, with support dropping to 15% for 18 to 34-year-olds.

Please enter your postcode in the box above to write to your MP now asking them to oppose this change in the law. 

Ask your MP to oppose the censorship zone amendment to the Public Order Bill side image

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