However, pro-life groups have denied the accusations. Antonia Tully of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children told members of parliament that the alleged intimidation "is not what is happening," according to the Telegraph.
Another SPUC spokesperson, Alithea Williams, has said that "if people were genuinely being intimidated then of course we would want to condemn that, but there are laws in place about harassment and intimidation and nobody has been arrested at these sites."
The Be Here For Me organization is hosting a rally at the town hall on Tuesday as the Ealing Council cabinet meets to vote on the buffer zone. The rally aims to "send a clear message to the Ealing Council and the media assembled that there is strong opposition to banning help outside abortion centers."
"This will be the end of a vital support option that 100s of women have accessed at Ealing in recent years," said the Be Here For Me group.
If the Ealing Council passes the proposed buffer zone, it will be the first location in United Kingdom to have an enforced PSPO. Other locales, including Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Portsmouth, and two other London boroughs have considered similar measures.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has said that "behaviour that seeks to deliberately target women for harassment and intimidation should not be tolerated," and a local Labour MP, Rupa Haq, has said that the buffer zone is meant "not to stop protests, but to ask protesters to instead make use of the many places they could protest – from Parliament Square to town centres … The women accessing clinics are not seeking debate – they are trying to make their own personal decision about their own pregnancy."
The matter of buffer zones around abortion clinics is also being discussed in the British Parliament.
MPs have heard testimonies of harassment during a recent parliamentary committee, and Home Secretary Amber Rudd has ordered an assessment of protests outside abortion clinics. Rudd has said that "it is completely unacceptable that anyone should feel harassed or intimidated simply for exercising their legal right to healthcare advice and treatment. The decision to have an abortion is already an incredibly personal one, without women being further pressured by aggressive protesters."
Will Quince, a Conservative MP, told The Telegraph that "Looking at legislation to introduce buffer zones or exclusion zones for protesting around clinics of this nature is something we have to look at … I think we do need to be looking to legislate."
In the US, a July 2017 city ordinance in Louisville, Ky., created a temporary buffer zone around the city's only abortion clinic. In 2014 the US Supreme Court struck down on free-speech grounds a Massachusetts law requiring a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics, only to have the state legislature enact a new 25-foot zone.
Ontario adopted a similar law in 2017.
(Story continues below)
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