Richmond Council has made an “absolute commitment” to protect women seeking abortion from harassment and intimidation.

The pledge was made at last night’s full council meeting in response to questions from the Reclaim Rosslyn Road campaign group, which wants all legal measures to prevent anti-abortion protest groups from harassing women at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) clinic on Rosslyn Road clinic, East Twickenham.

Councillor Mark Boyle said: “We will not tolerate any behaviours causing harassment to clinic visitors, local residents, and health workers outside Rosslyn Road clinic and we will do all that is lawful under legislation such as the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act (2014) to enforce the protection of all subject to such harassment.”

Cllr Boyle highlighted the potential use of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) outside the clinic.

Since 2014, more than 500 statements have been made from clients at the Richmond clinic.

One woman said the protestors made her feel “horrific”.

She said: “Nothing can possibly prepare you for coming into contact with these people on what is potentially one of the most difficult days of your life.”

Another said: “They handed me a leaflet as I entered, nauseous and terrified, and told me they could save me. One of them held a huge placard with bible quotes.

“They changed throughout the day with more graphic images as the day progressed- aborted foetuses accompanying bible quotes seemed like an oxymoron to me.

“The protester as I left said a prayer for me and followed me down the road until I got in my car.

“It was horrendous.”

The commitment has been welcomed by Richmond Women’s Equality Party (WEP).

Caroline Rayfield, member of WEP and Reclaim Rosslyn Road said: “We thank all of the local councillors who have helped us take this first step to preventing the harassment of vulnerable women accessing healthcare services from clinics such as BPAS Richmond in East Twickenham, as well as clinic staff, and residents in the areas around the clinic sites.

“We look forward to working closely with the Council as they review the legal options available to finally stop the threatening and intimidating behaviour happening on a daily basis.”