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Scottish Lib Dems call for buffer zones around "abortion clinics"

26 July 2018

 
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP.

Which don't exist in Scotland.

In the latest attack on the freedom of pro-lifers to pray and offer help to women in crisis, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has called for councils to be given power to create buffer zones around abortion clinics.

His intervention comes just weeks after the High Court upheld the decision by Ealing Council to introduce a Public Space Protection Order banning peaceful pro-life vigils, a decision which seems to have inspired Lambeth councillors to eject the charity Life from a country show without warning. Glasgow Council has also passed a buffer zones motion and Edinburgh Council is considering a similar move. 

Ignorant statement

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are the latest to smear pro-life vigils as violent protests that intimidate women.

"Designating buffer zones around abortion clinics is a smart way of ensuring women are able to access the medical treatment they need without fear of harassment," Mr Cole-Hamilton, who has also championed euthanasia, said. 

The press release repeatedly refers to protests and intimidation outside abortion clinics, something that Michael Robinson, director of campaigns at SPUC Scotland, slammed as displaying ignorance. "Firstly, there are no abortion clinics in Scotland," he said. "They take place in hospitals and it is typically impossible to identify women who may be attending for an abortion.

Intolerance of abortion campaigners

"Secondly, the claims of intimidation and harassment are completely without foundation; in fact it is the case that pro-life people have required the support of police to protect them from increasingly intolerant pro-abortion militants. 

"Thirdly, the right to freedom of speech is a crucial foundation of any democratic society and has become a target simply because pro-abortion campaigners wish to suppress the truth of abortion even to the point of denying women the support which offers them a real alternative."

At the recent Scottish Liberal Democrat Spring Conference, members voted in favour of both decriminalising abortion and introducing safe zones around clinics. 


John Deighan discusses buffer zones in Glasgow on BBC Scotland.

Mr Cole-Hamilton MSP also expressed disappointment that the Scottish Government is not "actively exploring" introducing buffer zones. When he questioned the Health Minister in the Scottish Parliament, she said: "The Scottish Government recognises that protests can often be distressing for women attending hospital and we are continuing to monitor any reports about anti-abortion protests and to consider whether there is further action that should be taken as a result."

SPUC is running a petition calling on the Home Secretary to stop attacks on peaceful pro-life expression: Sign now 

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