The Home Secretary has rejected calls for "buffer zones" to be introduced around abortion clinics nationwide.
Sajid Javid made his decision based on the fact that there is already a wide range of powers available to local authorities and the police to deal with any problematic behaviour such as harassment or intimidation. Therefore, any national scheme to implement buffer zones would have been disproportionate.
His predecessor Amber Rudd had set up an assessment of the situation to see if more needed to be done to protect women accessing the clinics from harassment or other damaging behaviour. However, the assessment found that although such behaviour had occurred, it was not the norm.
Elizabeth Howard, spokeswoman for the Be Here For Me campaign said: “This carefully considered decision represents the common sense we have been calling for all along. It demonstrates Sajid Javid’s commitment to fundamental civil liberties as well as ensuring that women will continue to be offered much needed help and support. It will mean that people offering this vital support will not be criminalised.
"Sajid Javid has made it clear that there are a wide range of existing powers available to local authorities and the police to deal with anyone that does harass or intimidate someone outside an abortion centre. He recognised that taking action on a national level would be a disproportionate violation of citizens fundamental rights.
"This is a victory for the 100s of women who have received practical help and support outside abortion centres across the country, and for all the women who will not have this vital support option removed from them when they are in need in the future.”
The charity Life also welcomed the decision.
Life's Senior Education Officer Liz Parsons said: "How refreshing it is for a politician to not blindly follow the pro-abortion agenda. for too long our law makers have appeared scared to speak against the pro-choice lobby, Sajid Javid's measured response supports what we have been saying all along; that laws already exist to prevent harassment and that the majority of prolife demonstrations are 'passive in nature'.
"Freedom of speech is one of the corner stones of our society and this is a sign of real hope that the pro-life voice will not be silenced into submission by our government. it allows for the possibility that women with an appointment at an abortion clinic may have a final opportunity to become aware of positive, alternative support and that the life of her unborn child may be saved."