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Scottish government commits to tackling anti-abortion clinic protests

Today, Nicola Sturgeon has announced plans to tackle anti-abortion clinic protests as part of their programme for government, 2022-2023. The First Minister stated that the Scottish government “will work with Gillian Mackay and MSPs across this chamber to safeguard the access of women to abortion services without harassment or intimidation.” Gillian Mackay, MSP, Member for Central Scotland (Region), has recently published their proposed bill to establish buffer zones around abortion clinics in Scotland to protect women and healthcare professionals from escalating anti-abortion protests.

Clare Murphy, Chief Executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, BPAS, said:

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to protecting women’s access to abortion care free from harassment. This is a significant step forward, but it is woefully overdue.  Over the last year, we have seen a significant escalation in protest activity both in Scotland and the rest of Great Britain, and it is incredibly disappointing that the respective governments have still not taken any action.

We will work with the Scottish government and parliament in the coming year to ensure that meaningful measures are enacted as a matter of priority, and that any proposals address the needs of both women and abortion providers.

Legislation to establish buffer zones around abortion clinics are a simple solution to a national problem. We urge the new government in Westminster to follow the lead set by Nicola Sturgeon and pledge to address the intimidation of women and healthcare staff seeking to access and provide a safe, legal NHS-funded healthcare service.”

 

ENDS

For further information, please contact Katherine O’Brien, BPAS Associate Director of Campaigns and Communications, on katherine.o’brien@bpas.org or 07881 265276.

About BPAS

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. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, which seeks to develop and deliver a research agenda that furthers women’s access to evidence-based reproductive healthcare, driven by an understanding of women’s perspectives and needs. You can find out more here: https://www.bpas.org/get-involved/centre-for-reproductive-research-communication/

In 2021, BPAS launched BPAS Fertility, England’s first not-for-profit fertility service, to provide ethical, evidence-based, person-centred care that supports patients. We provide a safe, high-quality, and accessible service, without profiteering from patients. Our service gives those ineligible for NHS funding an affordable option to access the care they need.