Buffer zones: Parliamentary Committee support a key milestone

Nobody should be harassed while accessing healthcare.

Scottish Green MSP Gillian Mackay has welcomed the Scottish Parliament’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee’s backing for the principles of her Safe Access Zones Bill as a key milestone in securing protections for people accessing abortion services.

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

Ms Mackay said: “I am very grateful to members of the Committee and to everyone who gave evidence. We will now take the time to reflect on the Committee’s recommendations ahead of Stage 2. They will help to ensure that this will be the strongest and most robust Bill it can be.

“Some of the testimonies and stories that we heard through the process have been really heartbreaking and harrowing. The impact on patients and staff has been devastating. Nobody should ever be targeted and harassed in that way, and especially not when they are accessing healthcare.

“Buffer zones are an important step in expanding reproductive rights in Scotland and this is a key milestone in delivering them. I hope that all MSPs take the same positive and constructive approach as the committee and vote for the Bill at Stage 1.”

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