Anti-abortion protesters could be banned from demonstrating outside a clinic after a "groundbreaking" decision by a London council, which could lead to the creation of the first ever protection zone to prevent women being harrassed.
On Tuesday (October 10), Councillors in Ealing overwhelmingly backed a proposal to stop anti-abortion groups protesting outside a Marie Stopes clinic in the borough.
Out of the 69 councillors present all voted in favour of the motion bar two who abstained.
The council motion said 3,593 residents signed a petition, delivered by campaign group Sister Supporter, backing the move.
Binda Rai, who brought the motion, said it would allow women to access "legal healthcare without intimidation".
She added: "What we've decided today is that this has got to stop. I'm absolutely thrilled that there was such huge support in the chamber for the motion, and right across the parties.It was really good. And this is really a stand for women, and for women's rights to access healthcare that is legally available to them.
A spokesman for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said it welcomed the vote result and urged the government to introduce legislation banning protests at all clinics.
"The situation in Ealing is sadly not unique, and women and clinic staff across the country report being followed, filmed, and harassed when trying to access or provide legal healthcare services.
"This has to stop," he said.
Ealing council leader, Julian Bell, told The Independent: "This harassment of women who are in a most vulnerable place has been going on for over 20 years. I’ve been down and gone past the protests and even for me it’s disturbing and intimidating, let along someone who is trying to access these legal services."
The Good Counsel Network, which holds daily vigils outside the centre in Mattock Lane, denies harassing women.