Cole-Hamilton calls for councils to be given power to create abortion clinic buffer zones

After NHS Lothian and Edinburgh City councillors expressed concern about patients and staff being intimidated outside abortion clinics, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has expressed disappointment that the Scottish Government is not actively exploring introducing safe zones to protect women from harassment.

In answer to a series of parliamentary questions the government said it is monitoring reports of protests outside abortion clinics but did not commit to taking any action.

Unlike local authorities in England, councils in Scotland do not currently have the power to introduce buffer zones.

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

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

“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.

“The Scottish Government ought to look seriously at these proposals. It is possible to uphold freedom of speech and the right to protest peacefully while also ensuring women are able to attend medical appointments without intimidation. We should use the law to ensure that happens.”

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