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Home Office caves to pressure - now saying they WILL consult pro-lifers in buffer zone review

8 January 2018


Minister for Policing Nick Hurd appeared to announce a change in the Home Office's plans. 

The wording from the Home Office has changed.

The Home Office appears to have changed tack on its review into pro-life activity outside abortion clinics, with a senior minister now saying that those running the vigils will be consulted. SPUC has welcomed the change, which appears to have been brought about by Society members lobbying their MPs on the issue.

Something missing?

In November, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced a review into "harassment and intimidation near abortion clinics." The announcement said that the "review will gather evidence from police forces, healthcare providers and local authorities to understand the scale and nature of these protests, before considering what further action the government can take to protect those using or working in abortion clinics." 

No mention was made of consulting with groups such as the Good Counsel Network, who have run peaceful prayer vigils outside abortion clinics for decades. In answer to a specific parliamentary question by Mary Glindon MP on whether evidence from such groups would be included, again the only parties mentioned were "police, healthcare providers and local authorities."

U-turn

However, Nick Hurd, the Minister of State for Policing has now said that "protesters" will be included in the review. In response to a letter from Andrew Mitchell MP, on behalf of a constituent, Mr Hurd said "the review will gather evidence from police forces, healthcare providers, local authorities, from representative groups of the clients, and also those engaging in protests and demonstrations." [our emphasis]

The letter was written on Home Office paper in Mr Hurd's capacity as Minister of State for Policing. The change of wording also appeared in the answer to a parliamentary question by Fiona Bruce MP on the same day the letter was sent.

Keeping up the pressure

Katherine Hampton, SPUC's Political Officer, welcomed the "sharp change in direction" from the Home Office, hailing it as a major victory for pro-life campaigners. "SPUC has been lobbying Members of Parliament asking them to call on the Government to allow the pro-life groups which organise acts of witness outside abortion clinics to participate in the review," she said. "This result shows just how important it is to keep pressure on our elected members of Parliament. It now remains for us to hold the Home Office to this commitment, and make sure that groups who do lifesaving work outside abortion clinics are properly consulted in this review." 

SPUC and the Good Counsel Network recently reiterated to the Home Affairs Select Committee that no "harassment and intimidation" takes place outside clinics. 

News in brief:

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Comments (3)

  • Craig Tomkinson

    8 January 2018, 8:06pm

    About time too, There should be no Buffer Zones This is not a dictatorship.
    The Government should now back pro life and make abortion a crime, It's time there was a Constitution in ther UK to protect the unborn by law from Conception until Birth.

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  • Christine Conlon

    9 January 2018, 4:41pm

    THANK GOD!

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  • Linda M Ashdown

    20 January 2018, 2:45pm

    Vigils outside abortion clinics are of vital importance and definitely should not be stopped.
    Innocent lives depend upon people who care enough to give their time to such work. Pregnant mothers in fear and confusion about their condition need to see there are people who are willing to give truthful advice and help if they are approached. These abortion clinics never will!! The driving force behind them is money, money, money and a totally Godless mindset. They do not care about ‘Life’ or the severe distress suffered by many, many women who take the fatal step of abortion.
    May the freedom to stand for ‘Truth’ always be upheld in this country!

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