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Supreme Court considers 'buffer zones' bill

19 July 2022
Pro life protest

Supreme Court judges are considering whether proposals to ban pro-life activity outside abortion clinics in Northern Ireland violate human rights.

The Attorney General for NI, Dame Brenda King, has asked justices to consider a clause in proposals before the NI Assembly.

She says the Abortion Services Bill doesn't provide a "defence of reasonable excuse" and wants to test the legality of this approach.

Human rights legislation provides for the right to protest, and freedom of expression with limits often debated.

The outcome of this case will have ramifications across the UK, as pressure mounts to impose so-called 'buffer zones'.

Similar plans brought forward in Scotland would criminalise pro-life activity outside clinics and other settings where abortions take place.

The Scottish proposals also provide no excuse for people caught advocating against abortion outside clinics.

Such people could face jail time, even if they have not engaged with women, or acted in any way that is objectively offensive.

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