Breakthrough for buffer zones: stage one debate set for Tuesday 30 April

Buffer zones will stop harassment outside hospitals.

In a breakthrough moment for reproductive rights, Scottish Green MSP Gillian Mackay will lead the debate on her Safe Access Zones Bill in parliament next Tuesday.

The Bill will create 200 metre safe access zones, or ‘buffer zones’ to stop anti-choice campaign groups from protesting outside abortion service providers.

Stage 1 is a key stage for a Bill, and is the first time MSPs will vote on its principles. It will then progress to stage 2 where it will receive amendments and further scrutiny ahead of the final vote at stage 3.

Ms Mackay said: “My Bill is at a really crucial stage, and this is the first time that MSPs will have the opportunity to debate it and vote on its principles ahead of amendments.

“Fundamentally this is about the right to access healthcare free from obstruction, and I hope that our Parliament will come together and back my Bill.

“It has been a really positive and constructive process so far, and I am really grateful for all of the support I have received from the Scottish Government and from MSPs across the chamber. I also want to place on record my thanks to the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee for their scrutiny and recommendations.

“But most of all I am grateful to everyone who has reached out and shared what must have been very harrowing stories and experiences. My Bill will ensure that nobody else has to endure this kind of harassment.

“I am determined that we deliver the best and most robust protections that we can, and that we end the shocking intimidation we have seen outside hospitals and other health providers across Scotland.”

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