MIL-OSI United Kingdom: Buffer zones: a historic moment for women’s rights

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Source: Scottish Greens

Buffer zones will end the intimidation and harassment of women accessing healthcare.

The right of all women across Scotland to access health care free from intimidation is within touching distance, says the Scottish Green MSP campaigning for a new law to establish buffer zones outside hospitals.

Gillian Mackay, her party’s health spokesperson, said MSPs had a “duty” to stand up for all women facing men, protestors and religious groups who want to deny them the right to access abortion treatment. 

Today sees the final stage of consideration over the Abortion Services Safe Access Zones (Scotland) Bill which has been endorsed by all three recent First Ministers and MSPs from across the political spectrum. 

If it passes the final hurdle at a vote later today, it would see 200-metre protest free buffer zones established around hospitals and medical facilities offering abortions. Eleven amendments will also be considered. 

Crucially, it would see an end to disgraceful scenes of US-based anti-abortion groups being allowed to target staff and patients outside health care settings. 

Ms Mackay said: “For far too long women and health care staff have been forced to run a gauntlet of intimidation, judgement and fear in order to access or deliver treatment at what can often be the most emotional of times.

“No protester and no group should be allowed to tell women what they are or are not allowed to do with their body. This should be their choice, their privacy, and their decision.

“This safeguarding is now just hours away from becoming law. I view it as my duty to ensure we bring in these protections, so that everyone can access healthcare with dignity and free of harassment. I hope that MSPs from across all parties do the same.

“My bill seeks to protect women across Scotland today, tomorrow and for years to come.

“It will mark a historic moment for not just women’s rights, but medical workers too, who all too often find themselves at the forefront of such situations.

“It will also serve as a legacy for all those who have campaigned to bring it into law.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom