06 October 2023
Today, the Safe Access Zones Bill, which will bring in areas around healthcare premises that provide abortion care where certain types of activity are not allowed, has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament. The bill, led by Gillian Mackay MSP, would bring the law in Scotland into line with that in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to protect women and healthcare professionals from harassment while accessing or providing essential healthcare.
BPAS has been running the national campaign for safe access zones since 2014. In Scotland, we have been working alongside Back Off Scotland and others to deliver the protection women need.
BPAS Chief of Staff, Rachael Clarke, said:
“We’re delighted that after years of hard work behind the scenes, the cross-party Abortion Services Safe Access Zones (Scotland) Bill has formally been introduced and today started its passage through the Scottish Parliament.
“BPAS has been fighting for this law for nearly a decade. We know first-hand from our own clinics how damaging the presence of anti-abortion groups outside clinics are to both staff and service users. Nobody deserves to experience this kind of fear, shame, and distress when accessing legal and essential healthcare services.
“This bill will put a stop to the harassment and intimidation endured for far too long, and with the support of the Scottish Government, is a strong message to Whitehall to finally implement the buffer zones that Westminster put into law over 5 months ago.”
The bill can be found here: https://www.parliament.scot/bills-and-laws/bills/abortion-services-safe-access-zones-scotland-bill/introduced
For further information, please contact Rachael Clarke, Chief of Staff, on email@example.com or 07985 351751.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, BPAS, is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain.
BPAS exists to further women’s reproductive choices. We believe all women should have the right to make their own decisions in and around pregnancy, from the contraception they use to avoid pregnancy right the way through to how they decide to feed their newborn baby, with access to evidence-based information to underpin their choices and high-quality services and support to exercise them.
BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, CRRC. Through rigorous multidisciplinary research and impactful communication, the CRRC aims to inform policy, practice, and public discourse. You can find out more here.