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Prayers and protests to be banned outside Bournemouth abortion clinic

by Alex Collett
BGPAS Bournemouth .png - Banner image
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A buffer zone is due to be set up around an abortion clinic in a bid to block protestors. 

This will be implemented outside the BPAS clinic in Bournemouth from Thursday and will stay for the next three years. 

Activities such as protesting, handing out leaflets and holding prayer vigils will all be barred within the area. 

The decision was taken up by BCP Council following a public consultation. 

Anyone that fails to accept the decision could incur a fixed penalty notice of £100 or face court action, the council has said.

Professor David Albert Jones is director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, he told Premier he disagrees with the Council's action: 

"Freedoms that people have in society, including the freedom to speak and to pray and though people have a right to go about their business, it's also right for people to pray in different circumstances and so I regret this decision."

Councillor Bobbie Dove, member for community safety told the BBC, the authority worked hard to understand "the difficulties and experiences" of people either visiting or working at the clinic.

However a consultation was launched after attempts to find "a negotiated position which could be agreed upon by all the parties involved" failed.

The council stated it received 2,241 responses to the consultation, with 75 percent supporting the buffer zone. 

Ms Dove said: "Whilst we acknowledge the right of anyone to conduct a peaceful protest, we had to balance this against the distress caused or likely to be caused, and the detrimental impact of behaviours experienced by those accessing medical services or doing their jobs."

She said the strength of support was "clear" and the subsequent decision taken was "balanced and proportionate."

Intimidating clinic visitors or staff and photographing or recording the clinic's users will be prohibited. 

Pro-choice group Sister Supporter Bournemouth previously claimed protesters handed out leaflets, offered prayers and hanged baby clothes in bushes leading up to the building.

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