The first ban on protesting outside an abortion clinic will come into force in the UK.
Ealing Council voted on the ban this evening, and unanimously decided to create a buffer zone around a Marie Stopes clinic where women had faced harassment for decades.
The local authority becomes the first in Britain to introduce a zone like this, meaning it will be against the law for people to demonstrate or approach women in streets nearby.
The move was sparked after a petition to take measures against the protesters.
Clinic staff and visitors kept a log book of incidents of harassment and intimidation dating back years.
Women had been told the ghost of their foetus would haunt them, had been told mummy mummy dont kill me, had holy water thrown on them and rosary beads thrust at them.
A public spaces protection order (PSPO) will now be implemented, with those breaching its conditions liable to be fined or prosecuted.
It is aimed at stopping incidents like those detailed in the clinics log book, such as: Police called due to aggressive protester a very upset client. Police attended had conversation with protester.
One patient was asked Are you sure you want to kill your baby? as she was trying to enter the centre, while another was shown plastic 10-week-old foetuses.
Another woman wrote: I felt very traumatised seeing photos of babies embryos outside of this clinic.
If there is any way you can remove these people/group from standing outside please make it happen. This is unacceptable and wrong.
Reacting to the decision by Ealing Council to implement an exclusion zone around an abortion clinic, Richard Bentley, Marie Stopes UK managing director, said: This is a landmark decision for women.
This was never about protest. It was about small groups of strangers choosing to gather by our entrance gates where they could harass and intimidate women and try to prevent them from accessing healthcare to which they are legally entitled.
John Hansen-Brevetti, the clinics clinical operations manager, said pavement counsellors were outside the clinic every day, approaching every client on the way in and out.
He said: Thats how we know that this isnt just about providing information, however inaccurate that information might be, this is about making people feel shame and fear for the decision theyve made.
People come into our consultation rooms crying and shaking, sometimes we have to wait to take their blood pressure because theyre so anxious having been through that.
Alithea Williams from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said a buffer zone would be authoritarian and it would be a dark day if the council voted in favour.
Ms Williams, who said she had not personally been outside the clinic, added: If people were genuinely being intimidated then of course we would want to condemn that, but there are laws in place about harassment and intimidation and nobody has been arrested at these sites.
The clinic provides around 7,000 medical and surgical abortions a year.
Pictures placed at intervals on the pavement outside the clinic this week showed the development of a foetus from six weeks to birth, while a poster of a mother and baby next to the words Love them both was opposite the entrance.
Anna Veglio-White, a co-founder of SisterSupporter, said the fact there had been no arrests was a huge signifier that change was needed as harassment law was clearly not sufficient.
The group of counter protesters has been coming to the clinic every Saturday since Easter last year to try to create a human shield to protect the women.
The 25-year-old said she had seen protesters misdirect women away from the clinic so they miss their appointments, and afterwards follow them to their cars and try to jam leaflets through the windows.
She said: Its all under this veil of we care about women … and its a really dangerous narrative because you can kind of think oh theyre just trying to help women and its not.
Student Hatty Grimes, who lives next door to the clinic, said she had been targeted by the intimidating demonstrators and had graphic leaflets posted through her door.
The Metropolitan Police did not say how many times the force had been called to the clinic or whether any arrests had been made.