CNA Staff, Nov 24, 2020 / 19:01 pm
Pro-choice activists are calling on the Scottish government to ban prayer and public discussion of abortion in the vicinity of the country’s abortion clinics.
“We think that it’s time that the Scottish Government legitimise buffer zones around clinics providing abortion services Scotland-wide,” said Ella Cheney, founder of Back Off Scotland, according to the Edinburgh daily The Scotsman.
“Anti-choice activity outside clinics is incoherent with our right to confidentially access essential medical services - with our right to choose,” she added.
Cheney said that “I have accessed sexual health services and witnessed these groups outside praying. It’s intimidating and made me feel uncomfortable. People have a right to their views but shouldn’t be talking to women about them at the point they are trying to access services.”
Back Off Scotland began with a petition asking Edinburgh to impose a buffer zone preventing pro-life gathering or speech within 150 meters (490 feet) of the Chalmers Sexual Health Centre.
Rachael Clarke of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said that “The current law in Scotland just isn’t sufficient. These groups aren’t violent, but they target individual women and cause them immense distress.”
She said pro-life groups and persons “have every right to hold their opinion. They have every right to campaign, to contact their MSPs, and to share their beliefs. They don’t have a right to infringe women’s privacy and impact their emotional and mental wellbeing at the hospital gate.”
Back Off Scotland’s head of policy, Lucy Grieve, said that “As it stands, the Scottish Government believes that the police already have powers to address the issues of disorder that are potentially raised by clinic protests,” but she maintains “that more robust measures need to be considered.”