Clinic consultation

Confusion around the consultation on the buffer zone of abortion clinics

FURTHER information has been provided on a consultation deciding whether a buffer zone should be placed around an abortion clinic in Bournemouth.

The BCP Board has released information to help people answer “ambiguous” questions included in an ongoing consultation.

The public debate follows campaigns by women’s rights group, Sister Supporter Bournemouth, for a public space protection order to be introduced around the BPAS clinic in Bournemouth.

The area would provide clinic users with protection from protesters, who would regularly gather outside the clinic on Orphir Road.

Read more: Council launches public consultation for buffer zone for abortion clinics

After their petition for the buffer zone garnered over 4,000 signatures, their concerns were brought to council and a public consultation was launched.

However, Sister Supporter says it has received feedback from the public that some of the consultation questions are a bit “ambiguous”, leaving many people “hesitant” to complete the form.

The council has since released a ‘frequently asked questions’ document to help people find answers, and Sister Supporter has shared a guide to the consultation on its Twitter page.

Group member Jess Bone said: ‘It’s good news that the council has now published an FAQ to help people answer as they see fit, but it’s yet another document that needs to be read at advance. It would be much better if the board changed the way questions and answers are phrased.

Read more: Abortion clinic ‘buffer zone’ campaign held in Bournemouth

“We believe some people will find the form inaccessible and we already know of several people who have completed the form and later found they have completed it in a way that does not reflect their views.

“We didn’t get a chance to see the form before it was released. If we had, we would have reported the issues that many people have since raised.

“We were planning to publish a reference guide on how Sister Supporter would fill out the form no matter how easy the form is to use because we know it means a lot to people and they would like to make sure they express their opinions loudly and clearly.

“However, public feedback has shown us that we need to focus on making the form as accessible as possible, and we’ve adapted our reference guide to cover that.”

We contacted the BCP Council for a response.