Buffer zone preventing pro-life protests around Fallowfield abortion clinic is extended

An abortion clinic in Manchester will continue to be protected from anti-choice protestors until 2026 after an order preventing demonstrations was extended.

The MSI Choices Abortion Clinic in Fallowfield has been protected by a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which prohibits protests in the surrounding area since 2020.

The order was set to expire in October this year.

But after conducting a review in May, Manchester City Council has confirmed the order has been extended until 2026.

A spokesperson for Manchester City Council said: “To date, the PSPO put in place in Fallowfield has been successful in its objectives.”

Since its introduction, the PSPO has allowed police to deal with harassment from anti-choice groups around the clinic – including a planned protest in February.

MPs voted in favour of nationwide buffer zones outside abortion clinics in England and Wales in 2022.

However, a spokesperson for Manchester City Council said Westminster “has not been moving quickly”.

“Given the lack of clarity about wider-reaching national legislation, the decision was made to extend the PSPO,” the Council said.

Pro-choice group Sister Support Manchester, which initially secured the PSPO for the Fallowfield clinic after two years of campaigning, said: “We’ve seen first-hand that PSPO-based buffer zones are effective on a local level – but they are by no means perfect.

“They create a sort of ‘postcode lottery’, and place undue responsibility for protecting people from harassment on local residents and councils.

“We are calling for the government to do the right thing and legislate for nationwide restrictions on protests outside abortion clinics.”

Featured image: Unsplash

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