​Buffer zone bill can make this last year of protests outside health facilities

Gillian Mackay MSP hits out against protests taking place outside health care clinics

Scottish Green MSP Gillian Mackay has called for MSPs to ensure this is the last year anyone has to endure disgraceful’ anti-choice protests outside medical facilities across Scotland. 

Ms Mackay was speaking ahead of 40 days of protests across Scotland, which she says show why her bill to create safe access zones, or ‘buffer zones’, is so crucial. 

Ms Mackay, who is the Scottish Greens health spokesperson, has introduced a Members Bill that will stop anti-choice campaign groups from protesting within 200 metres of abortion service providers.

The protests, which are coordinated by 40 Days For Life, a Texas-based anti-choice organisation, will begin today and remain until March 24..

Ms Mackay’s bill is going through parliament, with Stage one of the process set to begin this month.

She has received cross party support, with more than 70 MSPs, including the First Minister Humza Yousaf, backing her campaign.

Ms Mackay said: “These protests are utterly shameful. Nobody should have to face down a sea of graphic placards and banners in order to get to a hospital. 

“It is targeted intimidation and harassment, and it is being done in order to stop people from accessing the healthcare they are entitled to. It underlines exactly why buffer zones are so crucial. 

“I hope that all MSPs support my bill and that we can make this the year that we stop the protests for good.

“I have spoken to so many service users and hospital staff who have told me about their experiences and the awful impact these protests have had on them. My heart and solidarity goes out to everyone who has had to endure them. 

“Abortion rights are human rights, and they are non-negotiable. I don’t want this to be a country where people are afraid to access healthcare. I hope 2024 can be the year that changes.”


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