AN ANTI-abortion group has described the safety buffer zone outside a Bournemouth clinic as “a bit silly” during a protest.

Representatives from Christian Voice UK positioned themselves outside the British Pregnancy Advice Service (BPAS) clinic in Ophir Road on Wednesday, February 8, to demonstrate against a public space protection order (PSPO).

As reported, a PSPO at the clinic has been in place since October last year and criminalises “protesting, namely engaging in an act of approval/disapproval, with respect to issues related to abortion services”.

This includes prayer or counselling.

Bournemouth Echo: Police highlight PSPO sign outside abortion clinic in BournemouthPolice highlight PSPO sign outside abortion clinic in Bournemouth (Image: Newsquest)

The organisation, which describes itself on social media as a “radical Christian group”, was represented on Wednesday by national director Stephen Green and several others.

Mr Green spoke out about buffer zones across the UK and cited words from the Bible. He did, however, ensure his words did not breach the order.

He told the Echo: “My role is to explain what the buffer zone does and doesn’t do to anyone who might want to come down and share the gospel.

“We’re showing that it is possible to preach the gospel in the buffer zone and not breach anything. Nothing I have said has contravened the PSPO.

Bournemouth Echo: Stephen Green reading from the bible outside the BPAS clinic in BournemouthStephen Green reading from the bible outside the BPAS clinic in Bournemouth (Image: Newsquest)

“Part of what this is about is to show that the buffer zone is really a bit silly.

“The people providing these services are always at great pains to stress that what they do is medical care, but people who would like to dissuade women from doing it say that it involves something which the woman would come to regret.”

Mr Green said he was “perfectly prepared to be arrested”.

Following the protest, a spokesperson from pro-choice campaigners Sister Supporter Bournemouth said: “We informed local authorities about the recent planned anti-abortion activity in Bournemouth and were heartened that the police responded in a timely manner to ensure the continued enforcement of the PSPO.

“However, the recent planned PSPO breaches highlights that national legislation for buffer zones is sorely needed to protect clinics nationwide.”

Bournemouth Echo: BPAS clinic in Ophir Road, BournemouthBPAS clinic in Ophir Road, Bournemouth (Image: Newsquest)

A BPAS spokesperson added: “It’s unacceptable that these groups are continuing to target those accessing vital reproductive healthcare despite the adverse effects their actions are having.

“We’re thankful to the police for dealing swiftly with the individuals outside our Bournemouth clinic this morning, and are confident that in the coming months, all women accessing abortion care, and staff providing them, will be protected by national safe access zones.”

Dorset Police officers attended the scene along with Community Safety Accreditation Scheme officers to ensure there was no breach of the peace.

They said the group left the site by midday and no further police action was required.