Government U-turns on consulting pro-lifers in buffer zones review

Pro-lifers will now be consulted in a review into protests taking place outside abortion clinics, following a Home Office U-turn.

In November, the Government announced that it would review the “scale and nature” of abortion protests taking place, but would not be gathering evidence from pro-life groups.

However, the Government has now U-turned and decided to allow pro-life voices to be heard.


The move has been welcomed as a “sharp change in direction” by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).

Katherine Hampton, SPUC’s Political Officer, said: “SPUC has been lobbying Members of Parliament asking them to call on the Government to allow the pro-life groups which organise acts of witness outside abortion clinics to participate in the review.”

She added: “This result shows just how important it is to keep pressure on our elected members of Parliament.

“It now remains for us to hold the Home Office to this commitment, and make sure that groups who do lifesaving work outside abortion clinics are properly consulted in this review.”

This result shows just how important it is to keep pressure on our elected members of Parliament.

Katherine Hampton


The move was confirmed earlier this week in a Government announcement “inviting contributions from groups protesting outside abortion clinics”.

However, the possibility of the UK’s first abortion buffer zone also took a step forward yesterday.

Ealing Council announced it will consult on introducing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) around the West London premises of abortion giant Marie Stopes.

The PSPO would ban people from holding pro-life protests near the clinic.

Silencing opposition

The announcement was celebrated as “good news” by Shadow Home Office Minister Rupa Huq MP.

Huq has led calls to exclude pro-life protests within 150 metres of abortion clinics, claiming it would prevent harassment of women.

But opposing the concept of buffer zones, SPUC noted: “This isn’t about protecting women – if there was any harassment by pro-lifers happening outside clinics, they would be arrested under existing legislation.

“Moves like this simply seek to shut down any opposition to abortion.”

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