Utrecht to appeal court decision allowing abortion protesters at a city clinic
The municipality of Utrecht will appeal against a judge's recent ruling in favor of abortion protesters. The activists wanted to demonstrate at an abortion clinic in Utrecht, but the municipality assigned them a position a little further away. The group went to court over the city's plans, which ruled that the municipality had not properly substantiated why the protesters were not allowed to stand at the abortion clinic.
Utrecht Mayor Sharon Dijksma says that demonstrations at abortion clinics cannot be compared to other protests. "Women who visit an abortion clinic for treatment are at a defining point in their lives. It is a very drastic and emotionally charged decision that can be a psychological burden to someone." She believes they are vulnerable in that situation, and it impacts their personal privacy. "That is why visitors to abortion clinics deserve additional protection."
The judge's ruling concerns a demonstration that Jezus Leeft wanted to hold on Liberation Day last year at the Vrelinghuis on the Biltstraat in Utrecht. A total of three protesters planned to attend in a vehicle made to look like a type of ambulance. The demonstration eventually fell through.
The group wants to demonstrate again at the abortion clinic on Friday, and Utrecht has again assigned them to a place a little further away. That location "leaves the core of the right to demonstrate intact, and at the same time gives women on their way to the clinic a greater chance of a quiet and undisturbed visit," Dijksma says.
Several municipalities in the Netherlands enforce a buffer zone at abortion clinics. Protesters are not allowed to address women are considering an abortion when they are in that zone.
Reporting by ANP