Abortion Clinics: Safe Access Zones Debate

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Department: Home Office

Abortion Clinics: Safe Access Zones

Baroness Deech Excerpts
Monday 20th November 2023

(6 months, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber
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Asked by
Baroness Deech Portrait Baroness Deech
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To ask His Majesty’s Government what progress they have made towards the implementation of safe access zones around abortion clinics as legislated for in section 9 of the Public Order Act 2023.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Sharpe of Epsom) (Con)
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My Lords, the Government will issue non-statutory guidance to ensure that law enforcement agencies have a clear and consistent understanding around enforcement, and that abortion service providers and protesters are clear as to what is expected under the new law. The Government will launch a public consultation on the contents of the guidance at the earliest possible opportunity, and following consultation we anticipate commencing Section 9 in the spring of 2024.

Baroness Deech Portrait Baroness Deech (CB)
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My Lords, there is a great deal of foot-dragging in this. Both Houses supported the Public Order Act six months ago, which was to protect women accessing legal healthcare for their necessary rights. Yet in these months the most cruel demonstrations are going on outside clinics—for example, people wearing bodycams and holding out posters saying that babies are being murdered there. I do not see that a consultation is necessary; I urge the Minister not to delay the will of Parliament any longer but to get on with it and protect women from these very cruel demonstrations.

None Portrait Noble Lords
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Hear, hear!