Move anti-abortionists out of sight and sound of BPAS Clinic, Cardiff.
This petition had 321 supporters
This is an open letter to the South Wales Police asking that they move anti-abortionists out of sight and sound of the BPAS Clinic in Cardiff.
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Dear Chief Superintendent Davies
Access to safe, legal abortions in Cardiff and the actions of 40 days for Life
We, the undersigned, call on you to ensure that there is full unrestricted provision for women to access safe, legal abortions without fear, alarm or intimidation in the City of Cardiff.
We write to draw your attention to the action of the anti-abortionist group, 40 Days for Life, in Cardiff city centre. Since 2013 every Lent and once for 40 days in September as well, on a daily basis they congregate close to the BPAS Clinic in St Mary Street. They pray to end abortion, sing hymns, display anti-abortion posters and if an opportunity arises speak to women visiting the clinic. This creates an atmosphere of intimidation and disrespects and disregards women’s personal medical choices and medical staffs right to work free from harassment. Their action also causes great distress to many passersby.
We recognise police action in February 2016 to move 40 days for life some 20 yards away from the clinic has already resulted in some improvement. However, when a dozen or so of the anti-abortionists sing hymns so loudly that they can be recorded by staff inside the clinic and when distress caused to members of the public results in confrontational scenes then we believe this lends weight to the case that 40 days for life should be moved out of sight and sound of the clinic.
We welcome acceptance in a recent meeting of pro choice supporters and Inspector Owen that the police have a duty to consider the Human Rights Act 1990 and that it was noted that this protects the "right to life" as well as the "right to freedom of expression". In this case, we believe it means that the exercise of women's right to life in pregnancy is in conflict with the right of anti-abortionists to express their beliefs in the vicinity of the clinic.
Abortion Rights Cardiff has consistently provided a focus of support for clinic users through a silent protest while the 40 Days for Life action is in place. During Lent 2016 some 1,100 people signed a petition calling for 40 days for life to be moved from St Mary Street. We are aware of the deep shock felt by members of the public at the anti abortionists presence.
We believe that intimidation by 40 days for Life needs to stop. We ask you, along with local government and local MPs, to take further action within existing powers to intervene and ensure that in future women are able to access their legal right for information and abortion by removing 40 days for Life from the vicinity of the clinic.
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