In one town in the UK, protesting the ongoing, daily killing of fetuses and praying outside an abortion clinic may soon be lumped in with “nuisance or problem behavior” including drinking, begging and urinating in public.
Somerset West and Taunton Council is considering plans for public space protection orders (PSPOs) to cut down antisocial behavior in the city of Taunton, reports the County Gazette.
One of the PSPOs covers an abortion clinic run by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS).
The clinic has called the PSPO necessary to stop people who need to use its services from being harassed, shamed or triggered.
Christian anti-abortion activists have said the order is in opposition to freedom of speech and religion.
PSPOs were introduced under the Anti-Social Behavior, Crime and Policing Act 2014, and allow councils to restrict certain activities in a given area to tackle “nuisance or problem behavior”.
The orders allow either the police or council officers to take swift action against anti-social behavior, drinking, begging or public urination in the area in question.
If the PSPO is approved by the council later this year, the following activities will be prohibited near the Taunton clinic and the street where it is located:
- Protesting (either for or against) over abortion services provided in the area – including placards or prayer
- Interfering, either verbally or physically, with a service user or staff member
- Intimidating or harassing a service user or staff member
- Recording a service user or staff member in the “safe zone”
- Displaying text or images relating to the termination of pregnancy
- Playing or using amplified music, voice or audio recordings
Those found in violation of the orders could face a £100 fixed penalty notice or fines of up to £1,000 if they are convicted – with any money being used by the council’s Streetwise team to improve the town center.