Sister Supporter, an Ealing group that helped to protect woman seeking abortions in Ealing through getting a protected “buffer zone” has now seen what it has achieved in Ealing to be replicated in England and Wales.
MPs voted last night (18 October 2022) in favour of national buffer zone legislation which Ealing group Sister Supporter said will help woman to not receive “anti-choice intimidation and harassment at abortion clinics across England and Wales.”
There were 297 ayes to 110 noes. The next stage will see the proposal go before the House of Lords.
Labour MP, Stella Creasy tabled an amendment to the British Bill of Rights to establish women’s access to abortion as a human right which saw cross party and cross parliament support. She tweeted: “Today working x- party and X- parliament and with amazing orgs like @MSIchoices, @BPAS1968 and @SisterSupporter, we won case for buffer zones to protect right of women to access an abortion clinic 297 to 110 votes. Now to secure it in the House of Lords!”
Ealing Central and Acton MP Dr Rupa Huq tweeted: “Delighted to have achieved this today after many many goes over years. Women now will be able to access legal health facilities free of interference.”
In a further email to her constituents, Dr Hug wrote: “For me this was an emotional moment as I have for many years campaigned on this issue which has been close to my heart as a very “Ealing” issue, having witnessed the protestors at Mattock Lane for decades who impeded use of the public pavement. The new clause was actually in my name. It ended up being spoken on by other MPs as I was elsewhere in the House of Commons at the time, but it was and is something I passionately believe in.”
Dr Huq added: “If you strip away the controversial subject of abortion from the equation, which many people have long held and sincere views on, this measure protects women in their attempt to use legally available healthcare facilities free from interference.
“I was delighted yesterday by the result of the vote that was genuinely cross party with Conservative Bernard Jenkin MP and Labour’s Stella Creasy MP speaking passionately for the new clause (and praising my past work on it see Public Order Bill – Hansard – UK Parliament and Public Order Bill – Hansard – UK Parliament ) with even ex-Prime Minister Theresa May among those voting for it.
“Many MPs came up to hug and congratulate me yesterday in the aftermath of the vote for all my work on this subject. The Public Order Bill will now to go to the House of Lords for improvement. What began in Ealing now leads the nation and both freedom of speech and the freedom of women to undertake medical procedures in anonymity with the confidentiality of being shamed at the clinic gates is ensured up and down the country.”
Ealing Southall MP Virendra Sharma and Ealing North MP James Murray also supported the vote.
In a tweet, Sister Supporter said: “Ever since we secured the UK’s first ever #bufferzone around the @msichoices clinic in #Ealing back in 2018, national legislation has been our ultimate goal. PSPOs work but are expensive, time consuming and only temporary. They also make clinic harassment a postcode lottery.”
The British Pregnant Advisory Service said: “Without Ealing we wouldn’t be anywhere. Everyone involved deserves so much praise. I still remember our first meeting at the @MSIchoices clinic on Mattock Lane where we talked about the need for a national solution to the problem.”
Ealing Council leader Councillor Peter Mason tweeted: “This is an incredible result, made possible by the inspirational work of @SisterSupporter, who pushed @EalingCouncil so hard to take action. We did. Proud to have been there at the table when we did it. Proud of all those who have picked up the baton in the relay Ealing began.”