Calls for buffer zones at Scottish abortion clinics as landmark US case is threatened

Calls are growing for buffer zones to be introduced around Scotland’s abortion clinics after the Roe v Wade case details emerged.

The reports have caused outrage on both sides of the Atlantic, with politicians in Scotland ramping up calls for the Scottish Government to install buffer zones to prevent protesters from being able to pressure people using abortion services.

Buffer zones would ban certain activities that are designed to deter or prevent women from accessing abortion care within 150 metres of the entrance to a clinic or hospital.

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First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, responded to the reports from the US on Tuesday, saying that the “right of women to decide what happens to our own bodies is a human right”.

'We should just get on with it', says Anas Sarwar
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Ms Sturgeon added: “Experience tells us that removing the legal right to abortion doesn’t stop abortions happening – it just makes them unsafe and puts the lives of women at much greater risk.”

But Scottish Liberal Democrats leader, Alex Cole-Hamilton, said the First Minister and women’s health minister, Maree Todd, have “stalled and dissembled” over buffer zones “for too long”.

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Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “We must make sure that we protect the rights of women to access safe and legal abortion in the UK without harassment.

“For years, campaigners, including myself, have been calling for buffer zones around abortion clinics to ensure that people in a time of need are not faced with intimidation and shame at a time when they deserve support and empathy.

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“No one thinks that Nicola Sturgeon and Maree Todd have anything in common with the US Republican party and its legal assault on personal freedoms, but the fact is that they have stalled and dissembled over these buffer zones for far too long.”

Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, said the leaked documents are “horrifying”, adding that overturning the ruling would be a “massive, massive step backwards” for the rights of women in the United States.

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He added: “I think there is a clear majority in the population that is supportive of creating these buffer zones, and we should have no delay. We should just get on with it.”

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