pollitician : New law to introduce abortion clinic buffer zones backed by MSPs

pollitician : New law to introduce abortion clinic buffer zones backed by MSPs
pollitician : New law to introduce abortion clinic buffer zones backed by MSPs

Wednesday 12 June 2024 10:47 PM

newsonline - New legislation to introduce buffer zones outside abortion clinics has been backed by MSPs.

The law will prevent anti-abortion protesters from gathering within 200 metres of the 30 hospitals and medical facilities across Scotland where terminations are carried out.

The legislation will now move forward to receive royal assent.

The final stage of the Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) (Scotland) Bill was debated on Wednesday afternoon, with 11 amendments considered.

The bill was agreed by 118 votes to one.

Image: Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay is behind the bill. Pic: Scottish Greens

Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay, who lodged the bill, earlier called for colleagues across the chamber to back the proposals.

Ms Mackay said the protection "will be seismic for women and staff".

She added: "This is for women and medical professionals who have endured protests amid disgraceful scenes in the past while accessing health care, and for all those who may need to go do so in the future.

"It also carves into history the work and support of others including Back Off Scotland, health organisations and unions including the STUC Women's Committee, British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), and so many more, and trailblazing Irish Green Clare Bailey.

"Without their determination, support and courage that day may never have come."

The vote means Scotland follows other parts of the UK in introducing such legislation.

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Ms Mackay thanked the work of Scottish government officials and all the MSPs who voted for the bill to pass.

She added: "Today's vote means never again should a woman have to be stripped of her dignity, privacy or emotion in opting to have an abortion.

"It enshrines her right to do so, and to do so without fear or intimidation.

"A woman's right to decide what happens to her body is no one else's business but her own and that is the message being sent loud and clear across Scotland tonight."

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The Scottish government backed the legislation, with women's health minister Jenni Minto praising Ms Mackay for championing the issue with "grace and compassion".

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Meghan Gallacher agreed, adding: "Today's debate is about women and their right of access to healthcare safely.

"Because women shouldn't feel threatened or intimidated, especially when they are going through one of the most difficult and traumatising times."

Campaign group Back Off Scotland welcomed the news.

Co-founder Lucy Grieve said: "It's wonderful that after four long years of campaigning, the day has finally come and safe access zones have been officially passed into law.

"This has been a hard-fought campaign, and I'd like to pay tribute to Alice Murray and Lily Robertson who both put their head above the parapet in the early days of our campaign to bravely share their own stories of facing anti-abortion activists at the doors of sexual health clinics.

"Without Alice and Lily, we would not have been able to give a voice to the so many women, abortion providers, and others who have been impacted by this harassment."

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