Gillian Mackay’s Buffer Zones bill passed by MSPs overwhelmingly

Politicians voted by 118 votes to one to back her motion to protect women seeking healthcare from harassment

Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay has praised campaigners and medical professionals for their determination after her bill to bring in buffer zones around health care facilities offering abortions was passed into law by the Scottish Parliament today.

The Abortion Services Safe Access Zones (Scotland) Bill was agreed by 118 votes to 1 at its final stage of consideration in the Scottish Parliament today, sparking scenes of jubilation among supporters.

It brings an end to protestors being able to intimidate women seeking abortions or health care experts, by establishing 200 metre wide exclusion zones where such disgraceful scenes will be prohibited by law.

Addressing fellow MSPs, an elated Ms Mackay said simply: “Thank you” as the Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone confirmed the count. The legislation will now move forward to receive Royal Assent. 

Ms Mackay said: “This is for women and medical professionals who have endured protests amid disgraceful scenes in the past while accessing health care, and for all those who may need to go do so in the future.

“It also carves into history the work and support of others including Back Off Scotland, health organisations and unions including the STUC Women's Committee, BPAS, and so many more, and trailblazing Irish Green Clare Bailey.

“Without their determination, support and courage that day may never have come. The fact that it has is a testament to all of those MSPs who voted for it to pass, the work of Scottish Government officials, and the importance of this parliament. 

“They all deserve our thanks.

“Today’s vote means never again should a woman have to be stripped of her dignity, privacy or emotion in opting to have an abortion. It enshrines her right to do so, and to do so without fear or intimidation. 

“A woman’s right to decide what happens to her body is no-one else’s business but her own and that is the message being sent loud and clear across Scotland tonight.”


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