Buffer zones: Gillian Mackay to oppose all attempts to weaken protections

The buffer zone bill must not be weakened.

Scottish Green MSP Gillian Mackay has said she will oppose all amendments that could weaken her Member’s Bill for Safe Access Zones. 

The bill, which passed its Stage 1 vote by an overwhelming majority, will create 200 metre safe access zones, or 'buffer zones', to stop anti-choice campaign groups from protesting outside abortion service providers.

Ms Mackay was speaking ahead of Stage 2 scrutiny of the bill, which takes place today and will see the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee considering and voting on amendments from across the Chamber.

Ms Mackay, who will be speaking for and against amendments, has urged the committee to ensure the bill is as robust as possible and that there are no loopholes or exemptions that would allow protests to continue.

Gillian Mackay said: “We are at a crucial point in terms of introducing my bill and ending the terrible harassment we have seen outside hospitals and abortion service providers all across our country.

“It is really important that we make this the most robust bill it can be, and I am happy to meet with any MSP and to support any constructive amendments that will strengthen it and ensure greater protections.

“I will oppose any proposals that will create loopholes and exemptions or allow the protests to continue. That’s not what I want from the bill, and it would be a betrayal of everyone who has had to pass a gauntlet of protesters to access healthcare.

“I am grateful to everyone who has done so much to get us this far, especially to people who shared very difficult stories with me in the hope that nobody else will have to endure what they did.

“Fundamentally my bill is about ensuring everyone can have safe access to the healthcare they are entitled to. There’s been a really strong sense of collaboration and crossparty support at every stage of this process, and I hope this continues.”

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