MPs step up campaign for nationwide ban on prayer outside abortion clinics

MPs have stepped up their campaign for a nationwide ban on prayers and vigils outside abortion clinics.

The high court will hear a challenge to a public spaces protection order (PSPO) imposed by Ealing council last month. The appeal, due to be heard next Thursday, could overthrow the buffer zone set in place by councillors after a Christian group was accused of harassing women on their way in to a Marie Stopes abortion clinic.

The home office is conducting a review of protests outside abortion clinics and could impose a ban across England and Wales ahead of the high court hearing next week.

Mothers who oppose abortion gathered outside Ealing Town Hall last month month to protest the decision to impose a buffer zone.YouTube / Be Here For Me

Rupa Huq, Labour MP for Ealing, has led a campaign to see the ban extended across the UK. She accused Sajid Javid of sitting on the review started by his predecessor as home secretary, Amber Rudd.

'I understand that he has a busy in-tray, but this could be an easy win for him early on in his career and massively improve the lives of women not only in the mainland UK, but in Northern Ireland and the Republic, who make daily journeys to clinics like that in my seat in Ealing,' she said, according to the Guardian.

Anti-abortion campaigners are accused of displaying graphic images depicting abortion and women have complained they were filmed entering or leaving the clinic.

The Good Counsel Network, the Christian group who regularly prayed outside the clinic, denied harassing women. Director Clare McCullough told Amber Rudd in November last year the group offered 'a leaflet detailing help, support and alternatives to abortion', ran a 'witness against abortion' consisting of a small number of people 'standing away from the abortion centre and praying quietly'.