LEGAL action is being launched against BCP Council over a buffer zone which was implemented outside an abortion clinic. 

The buffer zone - a Public Space Protection Order - has been in place at the British Pregnancy Advice Service (BPAS) Clinic in Ophir Road, Bournemouth, since October this year, in operation between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday. 

Livia Tossici-Bolt, leader of the campaign 40 Days for Life Bournemouth, will pursue a statutory review of the council’s decision to have a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) around the clinic. 

Legal action is being taken on the grounds of what Christian Concern call a “questionable” public consultation. 

Bournemouth Echo: Sister Support outside the town hallSister Support outside the town hall (Image: Daily Echo)

Read more: Buffer zone introduced around Bournemouth abortion clinic

Miss Tossici-Bolt said: “By imposing this PSPO, BCP Council is preventing women coerced into abortion from being reached and helped and denying women and couples in difficult circumstances the possibility of receiving independent information and supportive alternatives to abortion.  

“We believe what the council has done is unlawful, discriminatory and unethical and we are determined to fight for justice.” 

Rachael Clarke, chief of staff at BPAS, said she is “disappointed that the council’s and the court’s time will be wasted once again making clear to these groups that harassing women in the street is not acceptable behaviour.” 

Since 2007, clinic staff have gathered more than 600 pieces of evidence about harassment.  

Read more: Sister Supporter react to Bournemouth abortion clinic buffer zone

She added: “For years, women attending BPAS Bournemouth have been subjected to unacceptable levels of harassment by anti-abortion groups stood outside.  

“We are delighted that BCP Council has recognised the importance of protecting our clients and our staff and introduced the PSPO.” 

Jess Bone, of Sister Support Bournemouth, said she anticipates Christian Concern’s case in court will prove unsuccesful, alluding to the Dulgheriu v Ealing appeal in Ealing where the buffer zone remained in place. 

Read more: How Bournemouth abortion clinic buffer zone will work

She added: “The BPAS clinic provided hundreds of testimonies of harassment spanning several years to BCP Council.  

“The local public signed the petition in their thousands and due process was followed to bring about a public consultation, in which the public overwhelmingly reinforced their wish for a buffer zone.  

“The council conducted a thorough investigation and balanced the rights of everyone involved.” 

A BCP Council spokeswoman said: “The council is seeking legal advice and considering its position.”