Manchester City Council Launches Consultation on Abortion Clinic Safe Access Zone
Friday 20th September 2019
Today, Manchester City Council have launched a public consultation on the proposed introduction of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) outside our Manchester Centre. The PSPO would create a Safe Zone around the clinic where activities that are known to cause clinic visitors and local residents to feel harassed and intimidated would be banned.
The anti-abortion gatherings outside of our Manchester Centre have been escalating in number, size, and harassing behaviour in the past 14 years. We find that anti-abortion groups that target our facilities are specifically focusing their attention on those who they believe are accessing abortion care. This harassing and intimidating activity is a form of discrimination and targeted street harassment.
Frequently, there are pro-choice groups who gather to counter the recurring or larger planned anti-choice gatherings outside of our Manchester Centre.
We believe in the rights of protest, assembly, and freedom of expression, but we also believe that women and pregnant people have the right to access healthcare services without being harassed or intimidated. These gatherings cause emotional distress to our clients and leave them open to having their privacy invaded. A designated Safe Access Zone to prevent groups from gathering at the Marie Stopes Manchester Centre would prevent the harassment and intimidation of women.
The Council have provided details of their full PSPO proposal on their website. You can add your voice to the consultation online through Manchester City Council's consultation website. The consultation period lasts for eight weeks and closes on 15th November 2019.