Anti-abortion protests in Scotland following 'Texas playbook' as national plan on buffer zones needed

As anti-abortion protests swell outside my city’s flagship hospital, I and many others fear Scotland is turning into a hostile place for women accessing healthcare.

Across the pond, prosecutors dropped murder charges last week against a 26-year-old southern Texas woman over an alleged “self-induced abortion".

After time in prison, Texas lawyers found she had not committed a crime. This woman’s case is an example of the lengths the red states are willing to go to restrict abortion access.

Until recently, I looked at this distant land with upset over the Heartbeat Act, making it effectively impossible to get a physical abortion.

Anti-abortion protests in Scotland are following a 'Texas playbook' as a national plan on buffer zones is needed (Photo: Pixabay).

I was comforted. This would never happen in Scotland, I thought.

Yet now, myself and others are becoming all the more fearful as we witness the rise of anti-abortion protests in Scotland.

Last weekend, over 100 anti-abortion protesters gathered outside the Maternity Unit entrance at the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Glasgow.

Dr Greg Irwin based at the hospital said: “It’s just such an unkind thing to do to a woman who might be having the absolute worst day of her life. She might be losing a baby from a foetal anomaly, she might have been raped.”

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And now Texas, over 7,000 miles away, does not feel so far.

"Year on year, it's getting worse.” Dr Irwin told me, “These protests are following what you could call the Texas playbook. They've had great success in Texas and these people are being emboldened by the inactivity of the government."

With Dr Irwin as lead signatory, a group of 76 Glasgow consultants have written to the Women’s Health minister Maree Todd MSP, demanding urgent action and promoting campaign group Back Off Scotland’s call for 150m anti-abortion buffer zones around clinics.

Ms Todd said she will work with wards, councils and the police to deal with protests being held but no action has been taken yet.

Gillian Mackay MSP is finalising a members’ bill on buffer zones, however, this process could take time many women do not have.

The government can’t keep kicking the bucket down the road on this. With every kick another woman is abused of her rights and more protesters become emboldened.

A national plan on buffer zones must be implemented now before we turn into the UK’s Lone Star State on abortion rights.

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