Abortion Rights is deeply disappointed that members of the anti-abortion group Abort67 have been found not guilty at Brighton Magistrates Court of public order offences for displaying material that is ‘threatening abusive or insulting’ outside the BPAS Wistons clinic in Brighton.
The group has been a regular fixture outside the clinic for several years, displaying large graphic images of aborted foetuses, directly confronting clients wishing to enter the clinic, and causing great distress and intimidation.
Reports of those confronted by protesters include a woman who became pregnant as a result of rape and a woman attending the clinic for treatment following a miscarriage.
Commenting on the verdict Abortion Rights said,
"This verdict demonstrates that the current law is inadequate to protect women from intimidation by hard-line anti-abortion activists. It will be viewed as a green light for them to continue their aggressive campaign tactics.
As a society we should be able to guarantee the privacy and safety of those seeking to access a legal medical treatment.
We respect people's right to protest and to express their views, but this cannot take precedence over access to vital healthcare services.
It is time we had a clear statement from the Department of Health on this issue. Ministers should be speaking out to condemn these tactics and should be investigating what powers are available to police and other agencies to tackle the problem. They have a responsibility to step in and protect women's health and safety."
The judge overseeing the case will deliver a full written jugement at 2pm tomorrow (Tuesday 18th September).