Public figures write to Jeremy Hunt to demand protection for abortion clinics under threat

Anti-choice protesters camped out in London, displaying gruesome images of dead foetuses. Photo: David Holt

Anti-choice protesters camped out in London, displaying gruesome images of dead foetuses. Photo: David Holt

A number of public figures and medical professionals have signed an open letter calling on the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, to ask that he take steps to protect abortion clinics under threat. This follows on from news last week that an abortion clinic in the UK has had to close due to the aggressive protest tactics of hardline anti-abortion campaigners.

The letter’s signatories include a number of Patrons of the British Humanist Association (BHA), including Professor Richard Dawkins, physician Dr Evan Harris, comedian Kate Smurthwaite, and writer Zoe Margolis. Other signatories include the comedian Sara Pascoe, humanist MP Diane Abbott, and MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas.

The BHA has long called for action to protect women’s access to abortion services. In 2014, it teamed up with groups such as Mumsnet, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, and Brook to support the ‘Back Off’ campaign and petition which calls for buffer zones around clinics so that women can access reproductive health services without facing a gauntlet of abuse and torment.

BHA Director of Public Affairs and Campaigns Pavan Dhaliwal commented, ‘As it is, hospital staff in many parts of the country must already endure serious harassment in order to access basic health services, and the fact that one clinic has now had to close should be a matter of serious concern for the Health Secretary. We urge Jeremy Hunt to act swiftly to prevent further closures and to ensure that no woman is prevented from having a legal abortion should she need one.’

**Take Action: sign Abortion Rights’ open letter to Jeremy Hunt**

Notes

For further comment or information, please contact BHA Director of Public Affairs and Campaigns Pavan Dhaliwal on pavan@humanism.org.uk or 0773 843 5059.

More on the Back Off campaign (back-off.org) and petition.

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

 

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