Manchester City Council have banned anti-abortion protests in Fallowfield

The motion has been carried and will affect the Marie Stopes protests

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Manchester City Council voted to ban the anti-abortion protests that were planned to occur outside abortion clinics in Manchester, including one in Fallowfield from 14th a February onwards. Manchester City Council's Lead for Women, Sarah Judge, claims the protests are "becoming much more aggressive and militant.”

Demonstrations have extended past peaceful protests with one example of protesters throwing holy water in the path of a woman whilst calling her a "murderer" as she entered a clinic alone at such a difficult time.

The 40 Days for Life activist group had planned to hold a demonstration outside Marie Stopes abortion clinic in Fallowfield between 14th February and 25th March.

The Tab Manchester spoke to Micheal Freeley of 40 Days for life who gave us a statement responding to the new ban. He commented that the demonstrations they hold are vigils where the members pray and offer support to the women entering the clinic. He believes that this ban is a "direct attack on free speech" and that the campaign will be going ahead as planned.

"Unfortunately the Councillors proposing the motion have not contacted us to ask us about our activities, discuss any concerns or give us an appropriate opportunity to present evidence to Councillors."

Freely also suggested that "when women decide not to proceed with an abortion and instead seek the help and support that pro-life organisations offer, the abortion industry loses money. That is why in my opinion they are pushing local authorities and the government to create buffer zones."

"The 40 Days for Life campaign will be going ahead as planned. This a peaceful, prayer vigil. The vigil exists to offer support and help to often vulnerable and, at times, very frightened pregnant women, some of whom really want to keep their babies, but feel as though they don't have any option but to have an abortion. Local people simply pray quietly and offer help to any woman approaching the abortion clinic who wants support and advice."

"Members of 40 Days for Life sign a statement of peace before attending the Vigils and at no stage has any member of the group harassed or intimidated any women going into the Marie Stopes abortion facility."

"Many children are alive today because of the help their mothers received through an encounter with a pro-life vigil."

Despite 40 Days for Life's claims, Manchester City Council have decided that the “intimidating” protests are to be stopped. As councillor Sarah Judge stated yesterday "women should have the right to access legal healthcare privately and without fear of intimidation and harassment."