The UK government have released a statement saying that so called buffer zones, – areas around abortion clinics where prayer and pro-life witness are to be outlawed – are not compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The statement was made in the houses of parliament by Lord Sharpe of Epsom, who noted that, “On a free vote with cross party support, an amendment was inserted into the Public Order Bill by the House of Commons” to establish designated areas “around abortion clinics where interference with people accessing or providing abortion services would be an offense.”
Epsom continued that, “Section 19(1) of the Human Rights Act provides a mechanism to notify Parliamentarians if a statement cannot be made that a clause is compatible with the ECHR” but that this did not “fetter the rights of the parliament to legislate in such a way, should it wish.”
He added, “I am unable, but only because of clause 9, to make a statement that, in my view, the provisions of the Bill are presently compatible with the Convention on rights”.
Adding that he was ‘sure’ the house would “wish to debate and scrutinize the amendment further”.
This piece was first published in Gript.
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