Birmingham City Council is consulting the public on whether to introduce a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to stop members of Pro- Life - Pro-Choice groups protesting outside an abortion clinic in King’s Norton.
The PSPO would be implemented in the area around the Robert Clinic on Station Road, where a small number of people have gathered regularly to protest against abortion.
Selly Oak MP Steve McCabe is supporting the propsed PSPO and has written to the council to express his concerns about the protests which he says he has been aware of for three years.
He says the clinic has been a “hotspot for almost continuous protesting” during that time.
PSPO consultation underway
The council said the PSPO would be to address “certain behaviour by members of Pro- Life – Pro-Choice groups” outside and in the locality of the clinic.
A local authority can make a PSPO if satisfied on reasonable grounds that there are a number of activities, carried out or are likely to be carried out in a public space that have had, or are likely to have, a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality.
The council is aiming for the order to be implemented for a period of time up to three years.
The consultation will conclude on Monday, 23 May, and residents can have their say on the order online, here.
MP supports PSPO order
Birmingham’s Selly Oak MP, Steve McCabe is supporting the proposed PSPO as a local measure.
In a lettter issued to Birmingham City Council, Mr McCabe, wrote: “I have been aware of disruptions and protests outside the Robert Clinic for three years now.
“In early 2019 I was informed of harassment taking place outside of the clinic which included protesters verbally abusing visitors, staff and passers-by through megaphones as well as handing out misleading, scientifically inaccurate and harmful literature. Since then, the Clinic has been a hotspot for almost continuous protesting, even through the pandemic.
“I am confident that without any intervention protests will continue to occur at this location for years to come. In the interests of ensuring those using the service can safely access health and family planning services such as abortions, contraception and vasectomies I strongly support the need for a PSPO at this location.
“The PSPO around the clinic will also allow staff to enter their workplace without fear of abuse or harassment. I have visited the clinic to meet with staff and managers and I have heard first-hand the distress and disruption these protests cause, with some having protestors approach them getting to and from the door or even in their cars.
“The Council should take steps such as a PSPO to protect health workers from abuse. Many local residents who reside on Station Road and the surrounding roads have also been in touch with me in the past few years and months to express their concerns about the impact constant protests are having on them.
“This is particularly concerning for parents given there are schools nearby, I know of several occasions where school children have been approached or handed leaflets. Given the worrying nature of these leaflets I do believe a PSPO which safeguards pupils attending nearby schools particularly Kings Norton Girls’ School is necessary. My constituents who live locally should not be continuously exposed to anti-social behaviour outside their homes as such I would strongly support a PSPO in this area to end this.”
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