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Buffer zones would give peace of mind for those accessing abortion clinics – MSP

Gillian Mackay MSP has launched a Member’s Bill (Katharine Hay/PA)
Gillian Mackay MSP has launched a Member’s Bill (Katharine Hay/PA)

Introducing buffer zones around abortion clinics would give peace of mind to all those accessing their services, an MSP has said.

Scottish Green MSP Gillian Mackay last month launched a consultation on her proposed Member’s Bill, which would see 150-metre buffer zones put in place around healthcare facilities which provide abortion services.

She said there is no place for the “intimidation and harassment” which is being seen around such clinics.

It comes after protests by anti-abortion campaigners outside such facilities in recent weeks which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has condemned as “completely and utterly unacceptable”.

The First Minister will convene a summit on the issue on Monday.

Ms Mackay said she hopes the summit can identify interim solutions to tackle unacceptable behaviour while the Bill is passing through the parliamentary process.

She said: “My Bill will provide peace of mind to all those accessing abortion services, by introducing protest-free buffer zones around clinics.

“There is no place for the type of intimidation and harassment we are regularly seeing outside these healthcare facilities at the moment.

“Both healthcare staff, and those accessing services, have relayed horrifying stories of the impact this harassment can have.

“While the parliamentary process can seem frustratingly slow, it is right that there is time for thorough consultation and scrutiny before any proposal becomes law.

“In the meantime, I believe there are a number of options that could be taken forward as interim solutions, particularly in the most egregious examples of this intimidatory behaviour.

“I am grateful to the First Minister for convening today’s summit and hope we can explore some of these options to improve access to services as well as discussing the practicalities of my Bill proposal.”