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Friday, April 19, 2024

Local Scottish Green MSP Welcomes Publication of Buffer Zone Bill

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Ariane Burgess MSP, the Scottish Green MSP for the Highlands & Islands has welcomed the publication of their party colleague Gillian Mackay’s bill to introduce safe access zones, or buffer zones, to stop anti-choice campaign groups from protesting outside medical centres.

The bill will stop anti-choice protests from taking place within 200 metres of medical facilities like Aberdeen Maternity Hospital that have been targeted by protesters.

This would be the highest minimum limit anywhere in the UK and would apply to the limits of the site.

The bill includes extension powers that allow health boards or ministers to apply to have the size of a zone extended.

The bill would allow for a substantial fine for people who breach it.

Ms Burgess MSP said:

“This is a really important bill that will stop the intimidation and harassment by anti-choice protests like the ones that we have seen outside medical facilities across Scotland.

“These protests have been painful and traumatic for many who have had to face them.

“Abortion rights are healthcare, and nobody should ever have to face a gauntlet of graphic banners and judgement when accessing healthcare.

“But that has been a reality for far too many people in the Highlands & Islands, many of whom have already had to travel considerable distances and are away from their support networks when receiving treatment.

“We can put a stop to it.

“Buffer zones have been proven to work, and the protections that Gillian’s bill is proposing will make a big difference.”

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