Local MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy visited MSI Reproductive Choices UK’s abortion clinic on Brixton Hill to discuss rising anti-abortion activity in the UK and to express her support for the service.
The MP for Streatham, who grew up in the Brixton area, met frontline team members at the leading abortion provider and renewed her call for Lambeth council to act on the issue.
The rise in anti-abortion activity outside UK abortion clinics has increased since the repeal by the US Supreme Court of the decision in the key Roe v Wade case. Anti-choice groups are having a negative effect on those accessing care, especially vulnerable women, the MP said.
The MSI clinic in Brixton has seen a steady presence outside its gates from anti-abortion groups. In other parts of the country, local authorities have used public spaces protection orders (PSPOs) to create “buffer zones” around abortion clinics.
The discussions also covered access to contraception in the local area, abortion funding, and workforce pressures, which are felt particularly acutely in Brixton.
In October, the House of Commons backed an amendment to the Public Order Bill which, once it passes the House of Lords, would introduce buffer zones (or “safe access zones”) to protect abortion clinics, hospitals and other premises from anti-abortion groups by requiring them to stand at least 150 metres away.
Angela Jones, MSI Reproductive Choices regional general manager, said: “Abortion is essential healthcare, and we are grateful for the tremendous support we see for our work from the local community.
“It was great to welcome Bell Ribeiro-Addy to the clinic. As the national buffer zone legislation progresses through Parliament, we really appreciate her support in the face of the small but vocal anti-abortion minority who turn up outside the clinic every week with the clear intention of shaming people for accessing abortion.”
Bell Ribeiro-Addy said: “It was great to visit the clinic to see first-hand the important work that staff are doing to support women in our area in the face of staffing challenges, funding shortages and targeted anti-abortion protests.
“I am particularly concerned by the escalation of anti-abortion activity around the clinic in recent months.
“Women should be able to access these essential services without having to run a gauntlet of intimidation and harassment.
“That’s why I’ve written to Lambeth council urging them to implement a buffer zone around the clinic.”