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FSRH/RCOG statement on buffer zones outside abortion clinics

News 13 September 2018

Please attribute the following to the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists:

“For several years the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have pressed the case for buffer zones. Over the last 12 months alone, at least 29 providers have been affected, at both NHS and independent facilities.

“Intimidating staff who are providing a lawful and necessary sexual and reproductive healthcare service and approaching potentially vulnerable women accessing these services is unacceptable.

“Protestors have harassed women in various ways, including providing erroneous information about clinical risks. Protest activity causes great distress for women visiting the clinics as well as having a direct impact on staff well-being.

“Public Spaces Protection Orders can be useful to protect women and staff, but they have not been designed for this purpose and depend on local councils’ initiatives.

“On the other hand, introducing legislation would guarantee that the approach to counteracting these protests is consistent and effective. The FSRH and RCOG call on the Home Office to act on the findings of the review and consider bringing forward legislation to protect the safety of women and healthcare professionals.”                                              

ENDS

Note to Editors

For media enquiries, please contact the RCOG press office on 020 7045 6773 or email pressoffice@rcog.org.uk

About the RCOG taskforce
The RCOG has identified the urgent need to ensure abortion services are safe, readily available and sustainable. Changes to the way abortion care is commissioned and delivered is having an impact on doctors’ access to training and women’s access to services. In order to address these issues, the RCOG has established an Abortion Task Force, led by President Professor Lesley Regan. The College has agreed to work collaboratively with the main independent-sector providers to seek system-wide solutions to ensure that women have access to safe, sustainable, high-quality care. The RCOG supports decriminalisation of abortion in the UK.

About the RCOG
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision. For more information, visit www.rcog.org.uk

About the FSRH
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK professional membership organisation working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), supporting healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. It works with its 15,000 members, to shape sexual reproductive health for all. It produces evidence-based clinical guidance, standards, training, qualifications and research into SRH. It also delivers conferences and publishes the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health in partnership with the BMJ. For more information please visit: www.fsrh.org