A Sheffield Labour Councillor is calling for Sheffield’s Hallamshire Hospital to become a ‘buffer zone’ after anti abortion protests were due to take place.

The protests were planned by US pro-life group ‘40 Days of Life’, who plan to show up at the hospital between 28 September and 6 November. 

Cllr Ben Miskell spoke out about this on Twitter last Wednesday, saying that: “hundreds of women have come together to plan a response and are ready for whatever is necessary. Either escorting their sisters through intimidating protests or launching counter action if necessary.”

Cllr Miskell, along with many other pro-choice protesters such as Sister Supporter, want the area outside of the Hallamshire Hospital to become a ‘buffer zone’ through a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO). This means, it would become a neutral area where protesting cannot take place, and women would be free to leave after their abortions without any harassment. 

Sister Supporter, a non-profit organisation, began a national campaign for buffer zone legislation up and down the UK. They’re calling for people to send them any images of anti-choice presences at clinics that they can use as evidence. You can submit these using their helpline.

Though the anti-abortion protesters are yet to turn up, the response from the pro-choice community has been instant. Campaigners gathered on Wednesday, prepared to hold a counter protest if 40 Days of Life did show up.

Rachel Wood, from 40 Days of Life, claimed that the group will be praying outside the hospital; she said: “We do not judge anyone, we do not harass anyone, and we do not intimidate anyone. The police are also very clear about our activities: that it is legal to pray in a public place, and that our rights are protected by law.”