Abortion Scotland: clinic buffer zones backed by huge majority of Scots, poll finds

More than two-thirds of Scots support the introduction of buffer zones around abortion clinics in Scotland, with fewer than one in 12 opposing their implementation, a new poll shows.

The poll, undertaken by Savanta ComRes for Scotland on Sunday, interviewed 1,029 Scottish adults between June 23 and 28.

The results showed half of all Scots (50 per cent) “strongly” supported their introduction, with a further 18 per cent “somewhat” supporting them.

Just eight per cent said they opposed the introduction of buffer zones, with 17 per cent stating they had no opinion and seven per cent stating they did not know.

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The figures come after Nicola Sturgeon convened a summit last Monday on the topic, where she committed to legislating for buffer zone introduction across Scotland.

Gillian Mackay, the Scottish Green MSP and health spokesperson, is consulting on her members Bill which, if passed, would see legislation enacted for buffer zones of 150m around abortion clinics.

It is highly likely this Bill will be passed in Holyrood with SNP support.

40 Days For Life hold a Prayer Vigil outside Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin/National World

Reacting to the polling figures, Ms Mackay said: “When I launched the Safe Access Zones Bill last month, it was with the principle that nobody should face harassment or intimidation when seeking healthcare. It's fantastic to see this principle has such overwhelming public support.

"There's been a growing campaign of harassment and intimidation outside abortion clinics, causing distress to both patients and medical professionals. People have been filmed entering and leaving, they've had abuse hurled at them over loudspeakers, and in one instance clinicians had to move clinics to other parts of the building.

"This is obviously unacceptable and it's what I'm working hard to end as quickly as possible."

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said the summit on abortion care agreed short-term options should be looked at while legislation is developed.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks during a summit on abortion care held at Hilton Edinburgh Carlton hotel, Edinburgh

The spokesperson added: “We therefore continue to encourage local authorities to use by-laws to establish safe zones and are committed to continuing to work with Cosla and local authorities to make progress.

“Following the summit this week, the Scottish Government and local government have committed to convene further discussions on how best to make progress.”

Want to hear more from The Scotsman's politics team? Check out the latest episode of our political podcast, The Steamie.

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