Anti-abortion group Life were kicked out of Lambeth Country Show on Saturday evening.
On his Twitter account Lambeth Cllr Ed Davie, the council’s joint cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “I’ve checked and stall in question was booked using inaccurate information.
“After the nature of the booking was revealed, and following complaints, the stall was prevented from opening on the second day of the show. “The return of materials from the stall has been arranged.
“It’s a community festival – that includes women who have had to make really hard family planning decisions who don’t want plastic foetuses in their faces.”
News From Crystal Palace asked Cllr Davie:
Were the Life campaigners waving plastic foetuses at the show?
What name was the stall booked in?
How many complaints were received?
What were the nature of these complaints please?
Replying, Cllr Davie told NFCP:
“In their faces was meant figuratively not literally though the models were on the floor in front of their stall in a very prominent position.
“We received a number of complaints from women including one detailed in the Evening Standard who had undergone a medically advised termination.
“I am getting clarification from officers on the other points in reply to a letter from Life.”
In other comments on his Twitter account (which can be found under Tweets and Replies) Cllr Davie said:
We had a debate and voted to stop anti-choice demonstrations outside family planning decisions centres. Now Ealing won their court case we will act…*
various choices are outlined at family planning clinics. We want to ban women in difficult circumstances being harassed while exercising their right to choose….
our public health officers are working hard to reduce abortions by widening access and uptake of contraception.
And Cllr Jim Dickson (Lab Herne Hill) Tweeted: @lambeth_council were right to take the decision to remove this organisation from a setting where women faced with difficult & sensitive family planning choices were enjoying a community event. For similar reasons @LambethLabour will press ahead with a PSPO (Public Space Protection Order) for abortion clinics.
And on this year’s Lambeth Country Show:
We all love the show and invest a lot of council money and officer and member time in it. Will review all police-mandated measures and see what we can adjust for next year
We’re reviewing all the measures police suggested including booze, under 16s, feel of the queuing system etc to make it better for next year.
Feedback generally positive. As dad of 3 point taken about expensive rides but theyve always been like that + there are loads of free activities, soft drinks, suntan cream, music etc. The event cost council best part of half a million some recouped through rides, catering rents
Looking at numbers we had about as many attendees and much less crime
*Further reading: COUNCIL MOTION OPPOSES INTIMIDATION OF WOMEN AT ABORTION CLINICS – “Protests causing distress to residents and staff” January 18, 2018
At its meeting in January, following a deputation, Lambeth council overwhelmingly approved a resolution which read:
This council notes: That in recent years, regular demonstrations have taken place outside Lambeth’s three health clinics providing abortion services from Marie Stopes or BPAS in Waterloo, Brixton and Streatham.
These protests often involve graphic imagery and false medical information that many women seeking to access services at this site, as well as residents in the area and staff working at the clinics, have found intimidating and distressing.
This council believes:
· That the right to protest and freedom of speech are important, and that there are strongly held views on both sides of the abortion debate.
But no woman should face intimidation when seeking support from clinics offering abortion services as laid out in the Abortion Act 1967.
That these protests are furthermore causing unwarranted distress to residents and staff working at these clinics.
This council resolves:
To condemn the intimidation taking place at these sites, particularly those targeted at intimidating women seeking to use services at health clinics in Waterloo, Brixton and Streatham.
To call on Lambeth to urgently explore every possible option and will take all necessary actions within its powers to prevent anti-abortion protestors from intimidating and harassing women and staff, as well as causing distress to Lambeth residents.
To call on Lambeth to explore as part of its approach the implementation of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which can be used to ban protests within 100 metres of defined sites with fines of up to £1,000 if this area is breached.