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  1. ITV Report

Yvette Cooper calls for buffer zones outside abortion clinics

Yvette Cooper. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has lent her support to calls for a protective buffer zone to be placed around abortion clinics to protect women from abuse from protesters outside.

In an interview with ITV News, Ms Cooper said she was worried by the recent spate of cases where women were being intimidated on the way into clinics.

Healthcare workers have been reporting an increase in incidents of harassment outside their workplace - with one woman at a clinic in Chester needing a police escort to leave her workplace and get into her car.

Patients attempting to access advice, counselling and abortion services are being confronted with distressing images, having their entrances to clinics blocked by campaigners attempting to "discuss" the decision and many are filmed and photographed without their consent.

Ms Cooper says this is interfering with women's access to legally available advice and the government should step into look in at measures.

Labour said the government should look abroad to the US, Canada and France were anti-abortion protests are prohibited from happening directly outside clinics and protesters are not allowed to approach patients or staff.

Having buffer zones for clinics in the UK would mean the levels of intimation for women attempting to access services would be decreased, Ms Cooper said.

I think it is possible to have a sensible area outside a clinic where protests don't take place so that people can't be harassed and so that staff can go to work without feeling threatened as well.

– Yvette Cooper