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Victory in UK: Home Secretary refuses to ban pro-life speech outside abortion centers

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WESTMINSTER, UK, September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Home Secretary of the United Kingdom has rejected demands that he impose a buffer zone on pro-life witnesses outside all abortion businesses in England and Wales. 

Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, said that such a sweeping move would not be a proportionate response. Although a review allegedly found some cases of harassment and damaging behaviour at pro-life vigils, they were “not the norm.” 

"Having considered the evidence of the review,” said Javid, “I have therefore reached the conclusion that introducing national buffer zones would not be a proportionate response, considering the experiences of the majority of hospitals and clinics, and considering that the majority of activities are more passive in nature."

The Home Secretary pointed out that legislation, including the 1986 Public Order Act, already exists to “restrict activities that cause harm to others.” The Public Order Act, for example, gives police the power to stop protests that get out of hand. 

The review was ordered by Javid’s predecessor, Amber Rudd, after lobbying by pro-abortion MPs and abortion businesses.  After Rudd’s resignation, Javid, too, was under pressure to impose the “buffer zone” around all 363 hospitals and abortuaries that commit abortions in England and Wales.  

England’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said they were “delighted” by the decision.

Antonia Tully, SPUC’s Director of Campaigns said: “This is a massive victory for common sense, democracy and above all for the hundreds of vulnerable women who are saved from the horror of abortion at the very gates of the abortion clinic.”

As the UK’s principal pro-life organization, SPUC was part of the effort to protect the freedom of speech of people hoping to help women make a last-minute decision to keep their babies. 

 "Throughout our campaign to protect pro-life vigils our thoughts have always been for the mothers who need help, even as they are walking into the abortion clinic, and for the many babies and children alive today because of an encounter with a loving pro-life citizen,” said Tully. 

According to a SPUC press release, in the last two weeks, the group sent over 80,000 postcards to people throughout the UK willing to ask the Home Secretary to uphold “the freedom to oppose abortion, to pray for unborn babies and to offer help to women.”

“We launched our postcard campaign as soon as we heard that the Home Secretary’s announcement was imminent,” said Tully. “The uptake was amazing. Ordinary people clearly feel very strongly about this matter. It is heartening that Mr Javid is listening to the people of this land.” 

She stated that the Home Secretary’s statement made it clear that the evidence put forward by the pro-life community regarding what actually happens during peaceful pro-life vigils, was overwhelming.  

“Pro-lifers spoke the truth and justice prevailed,” Tully said. 

She told British pro-lifers that although there is still much to do, they should take a moment to celebrate.

“I don’t think anyone can accuse SPUC of being complacent about the attacks on human life and about the attacks on the pro-life movement in Britain which will no doubt continue – but we should pause a moment to give thanks for this most important victory,” she said. 

The ban on pro-life witness at the notorious Marie Stopes clinic in the London borough of Ealing remains in effect.

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