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'Buffer zones' bill backed by Holyrood committee

22 April 2024
Pro life vigil

A proposed law to ban pro-life activities outside medical settings in Scotland has been backed by a committee of MSPs.

The Health, Social Care and Sport Committee backed the "general principles" of the 'buffer zones' bill in a report issued today.

Green MSP Gillian Mackay's bill would block any activities taking place within 200m of clinics or hospitals.

People found to be in breach of the legislation would be hit with fines - including unlimited fines for certain actions.

The Health Committee's report will now be debated by all MSPs and parliament will vote on progressing or halting the bill.

It is thought that the legislation will proceed given backing from the Scottish Government and MSPs in different parties.

A spokeswoman for CARE for Scotland commented:

“Public debates and interactions related to abortion must be conducted with an abundance of empathy, compassion, and sensitivity, recognising that both lives in a pregnancy have immense value. In our view, people taking part in gatherings that are within the scope of this legislation conduct themselves with this in mind.

"The police are already empowered to deal with any incidents of abuse or harassment that occur under existing, well-balanced laws. Police Scotland data shows that pro-life activities do not involve the ‘harassment’ some campaigners claim to be widespread. Some have wrongly sought to other and problematise peaceful, pro-life people exercising their democratic rights.

"We also believe a focus on ‘buffer zones’ is seeing political attention diverted away from other, very serious issues: discrimination against preborn babies with disabilities; advances in improving foetal viability; record numbers of abortions in Scotland; and the drivers of abortion including poverty. It is worrying that so little attention is being given to these issues at Holyrood.”

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In any pregnancy, both the woman and preborn baby have inherent value and dignity, by virtue of being made in the image of God. CARE is passionately pro-woman and pro-life.

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