The UK Independent reported yesterday that home secretary Sajid Javid considered evidence obtained in a review of pro-life activities outside UK abortion facilities and decided that creating free speech “buffer zones” around the facilities would be an unwarranted move. Javid said, “Having considered the evidence of the review, 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.”
His predecessor, Amber Rudd, had called for the review, noting that anyone entering an abortion facility shouldn’t feel intimidated. But Javid noted that any violence or actual intimidation was “not the norm” outside the facilities. The Independent writes:
[Javid] said that in some of these cases, protesters distributed out model foetuses, displayed graphic images, followed people, blocked their paths and even went so far as to assault them.
But the home secretary said the review showed these activities were “not the norm” and most anti-abortion activities were “more passive”, including praying, handing out leaflets, and showing banners.
According to the review, in 2017, 363 hospitals and clinics in England and Wales performed abortions. Of these, 36 experienced anti-abortion demonstrations.
Mr Javid said there was already existing legislation – such as the Public Order Act 1986 – which limits protest activities that harm others.
Unsurprisingly, several have objected to Javid’s decision. Dr. John Chisolm, chair of the medical ethics committee at the British Medical Association, stated in part, “approaching women accessing [abortion] services who may already feel vulnerable is unacceptable.” The managing director of Marie Stopes UK — the UK’s largest abortion provider — agreed, saying, “We don’t believe anyone should face harassment when accessing a legal, confidential health service….”
But, of course, abortion is not just like any other “health service.” Abortion is the intentional killing of a human being in his or her mother’s womb. The video below shows a D&E abortion, which takes place between 13 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion is legal in the UK up to 24 weeks and, according to the NHS, “can be carried out after 24 weeks in certain circumstances – for example, if the mother’s life is at risk or the child would be born with a severe disability”:
A child in the womb at 24 weeks looks like this, and has a good chance of surviving outside the womb with assistance:
In the United States, the Supreme Court has found “buffer zones” around abortion facilities to be unconstitutional, infringing upon the free speech rights of Americans.