The charity behind a pregnancy advisory clinic in Richmond at the centre of a debate over a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) has responded to campaigners.

Be Here For Me has been fighting a proposed PSPO outside the British Pregnancy Advisory Service clinic on Rosslyn Road, which would prevent campaigners standing outside the abortion clinic.

The group describes itself as "mothers against the ban on help outside abortion centres", and would be banned from campaigning outside the centre if the PSPO is approved.

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Activities reported to BPAS Clinic by clients. Data from BPAS Clinic.

However, BPAS has said that the PSPO proposal comes after year of work with residents in the area.

An outline of the proposals can be found in a document sent to the Richmond and Twickenham Times and the council. According to the report, over 300 incidents of protests have been reported to the clinic. 

SEE MORE: Group fighting proposed ban on campaigning outside Twickenham abortion clinic

Many women reported feeling distressed by the presence of campaigners and their activities – many highlighted this was especially true because of the situation they were in, in which they had often already made a very difficult decision to come in the first place.

One client told the clinic they felt "uncomfortable and upset" when she was told to "choose life rather than murder".

A BPAS spokesperson said: “Local residents have been working with BPAS in Twickenham for years to ask the council to take action to stop the anti-abortion protests outside the BPAS clinic. Rosslyn Road is a residential street and neither residents nor women attending the clinic are comfortable with being approached, handed misleading leaflets, being forced to walk past anti-abortion protesters and signs, or being stopped, followed, or called after.


How clients and escorts felt. Data from BPAS Clinic.

“In the last month alone, BPAS has received 323 reports from women attending the clinic and the people coming with them about the negative impact of the protest outside.

Read more: Abortion clinic protester ban proposed at clinic in Twickenham

“No matter what the people who stand outside think of their activity, women tell us again and again that they find the presence distressing, harassing, and intimidatory. The council needs to put a stop to it.”

Jill Lorimer, leader of Richmond's branch of the Women's Equality Party, added: "Implementing a buffer zone would protect the rights of clients accessing the legal health services offered by the clinic, as well as the staff working there, who currently experience harassment and intimidation on a daily basis.

"It would protect patients at the GP Surgery next door, users of the nursery based in the ETNA Community Centre and local residents whose daily lives have been affected by the protesters for many years.  It would move the protesters away from the area directly outside the clinic but would not prevent them from protesting altogether, thus protecting their rights to freedom of expression.

"The Incident Log collated by staff at the clinic and published on Reclaim Rosslyn Road’s website demonstrates the harm and misery caused to clients who are intimidated, harassed and often verbally abused as they access legally provided medical care."