Anti-abortion protesters may soon be banned from standing outside a clinic after a "ground-breaking" decision by Ealing Council.

On Tuesday (October 10), councillors voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion to stop anti-abortion groups from protesting outside the Marie Stopes clinic, in Mattock Lane.

Daily vigils outside the clinic , which local pro-choice group Sister Supporter claim have been going on for more than 20 years, have left women feeling "intimidated and distressed".

Women have been identified walking into the abortion clinic on Facebook Live, called "murderers" and "mum", and even told they will be "haunted by their baby".

A Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was sought to establish a 100-meter buffer against the large group of pro-life campaigners, who hand out pictures and models of dismembered foetuses.

Speaking at the debate at Ealing Town Hall, Anna Veglio-White, local resident and a founder of Sister Supporter, who called upon councillors to act on World Mental Health Day.

Pro-choice protesters gathered outside Ealing Town Hall on Tuesday (October 10)

"[The pro-life groups] wish to target vulnerable individuals to stop them from going through with the procedure," she said.

"A PSPO would protect the users of the clinic and restore peace and dignity to the space outside Marie Stopes.

"Councillors, today is World Mental Health Day, I implore you to attempt every action within your means and lead the way in the protection of our human rights."

The protesters' prayers and hymns can be heard from inside the clinic

She added: "The clinic in Ealing suffers some of the worst anti-abortion harassment in the country, and it is up to you to set the precedent for other councils, and eventually the government, to follow.

"No person should be harassed, intimidated or approached whilst accessing legal health care of any kind.

"It is time the vigils in Mattock Lane came to an end. That time is now."

Pro-choice campaigners welcomed the council's vote in favour of the motion

Councillor Binda Rai, who put forward the motion to end harassment at the clinic, told the council meeting it was about "a woman's right to access legal healthcare without intimidation or harassment".

Speaking afterwards, she said there was cross-party support for the motion which will lead to the council looking at options, followed by a consultation period.

"What we've decided today is that this has got to stop," the Labour representative said.

"I'm absolutely thrilled that there was such huge support in the chamber for the motion, and right across the parties."

Anti-abortion protesters have been outside the clinic for more than 20 years

The councillor said there could be "national implications", as she said Ealing Council is the first to have this debate, adding that it could be the first local authority to actively take action to address the issue.

Campaign group Sister Supporter delivered a petition at the council meeting which had gathered 3,593 signatures from local residents believing protests had a "detrimental effect on their quality of life".

Speaking after the vote, Richard Bentley, managing director at Marie Stopes UK, said: "This ground-breaking move by Ealing Council sets a national precedent for ending the harassment of women using legal healthcare services.

"We hope that other local authorities will follow this example and act to increase protection for women in their area."

Speaking to getwestlondon after the vote, Ms Veglio-White added: "It's pretty special what's happened today.

"It's not always that people are willing to put their necks on the line to stand up for what's right.

Pro-choice sign reads: "We support your choice"

"Considering there's been an increase of pro-life protesters in the UK, hopefully, this means that very soon women will be free to access these services without any protesters being there."

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