New laws urged as UK’s first abortion clinic ‘safe zone’ is set up in Ealing

A council leader today called for new laws to protect women from intimidation after his borough became the first in Britain to impose a “safe zone” around an abortion clinic.

Julian Bell, leader of Ealing council, urged the Home Office to introduce legislation to create mandatory “buffer zones” around clinics across the UK.

The council has passed a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for Ealing’s Marie Stopes clinic. 

The order, effective immediately, lays down a number of rules which will make it a criminal offence for pro-life groups to interfere with staff or patients along a 1,000m stretch of Mattock Lane, where the clinic is located.  Mr Bell said: “It’s a first for the UK and I’m pleased Ealing is leading the way. It’s a significant problem for the whole country. If there was national legislation for us or other councils I think it would make it easier and clearer to get the protection that women need.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd today said a review into the issue was continuing “apace”. She added: “The decision to have an abortion is already an incredibly personal one, without women being further pressured by aggressive protesters.”

However, she said any legislation would need to take into account the “long-standing tradition” of allowing peaceful protest within the law.

Police and council officers will be empowered to issue £100 fines to anyone who breaches the PSPO.

Source :