Anti-choice hospital protests have no place in modern Scotland

Buffer zones will stop intimidation outside hospitals.

Anti-choice protests outside hospitals and scaremongering campaigns aimed at blocking new protections for safe women's health care have no place in a modern, democratic or feminist Scotland, says Scottish Green MSP Gillian Mackay.

She was speaking ahead of giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee this morning.

Ms Mackay has received huge cross party support for her Bill, which will create 200 metre safe access zones, or ‘buffer zones’, to stop anti-choice campaigners from targeting hospitals or other abortion service providers.

Speaking before her committee appearance, Ms Mackay said: “I am proud that we are on the verge of delivering buffer zones. It has been a long journey to get here, and it is only possible because of the work of so many people that we have gotten this far. 

“I am very grateful to everyone who has contributed to my consultation and helped to shape my Bill. I am particularly grateful to those who have been willing to share very personal and painful stories in the hope that nobody else will have to suffer what they did.

“Since I began this process there has been so much scaremongering about this Bill from organisations who should know better, and I am looking forward to being able to tackle some of the misinformation.

“This Bill is about safety, respect and dignity for women. It is about recognising the right to choose and the right to access healthcare without harassment. 

“There are some, often men, who think the protests are fine and who seek to divide people. But the fact that I have been supported by MSPs from all parties underlines just how determined and strong the momentum for change is.

“It is shocking that this legislation is even necessary. Abortion rights are healthcare, they are vitally important and were hard-fought for and won. People shouldn’t have to face down protests and banners in order to access services they are entitled to.

“These protests have no place in a modern, democratic or feminist Scotland. By introducing buffer zones we can take a key step closer to being the country that I know we can be.

“I am determined that we stop these protests for good, and that we ensure nobody else has to face the intimidation and judgement that they bring.”

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