Video: Vigil holder John Edwards was confronted while Notts TV was filming on March 1
A campaign group has written an open letter calling for legal powers to be used to remove a group holding a 40-day vigil outside a hospital unit where abortion procedures are carried out.
Pro-Choice Nottingham has written to the leader of Nottingham City Council Jon Collins, the Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping and the Chief Executive of Nottingham University Hospitals Trust Peter Homa, which runs the QMC and City Hospital.
In an online post, the group said: “We want to directly oppose this. People should be able to access necessary medical treatment without intimidation.”
The letter calls for the removal of the vigil which is ‘harassing staff and service users as part of its continued trespass on trust property’.
Forty Days for Life says the aim is to ‘pray for an end to abortion’ and their vigil will run twelve hours a day for 40 days up to April 9.
Director of Estates and Facilities for Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Andrew Chatten, said: “While we respect people’s legal rights to express their views, our priority remains the safety and well-being of our patients, visitors and staff.
“The Trust has and continues to take proportionate action, mindful of the distress the on-site presence of this group could cause to many.
“The Police are monitoring daily. There are a number of legal and practical difficulties involved in any of the actions that the Trust might take to remove individuals without the assistance of the Police.
“The Trust cannot be satisfied at this stage that such actions, in relation to a time-limited protest of this kind, would be effective.
“This position will be kept under review and the Police will be asked to take action in the event of any disturbance, nuisance or anti-social behaviour demonstrated by the group.”
Superintendent Ted Antill, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Police have a positive duty to facilitate peaceful protests and ensure the rights of people who are peacefully protesting are respected by other parties.
“Their rights to freedom of thought, speech and expression are protected under the European Convention of Human Rights.
“The police and other statutory agencies have duties to facilitate and ensure those rights are not compromised.”
Notts TV News has contacted Nottingham City Council for comment.