CARE: Christian Action, Research and Education

For what you believe
Open menu Close menu

Scotland: Buffer Zone Bill passes Stage 1

1 May 2024
Pro life vigil

A "buffer zones" Bill in the Scottish Parliament has passed its Stage 1 vote by 123 votes in favour to just 1 against.

If it continues to become law, the bill would make it a criminal offence to offer pro-life support near a hospital or clinic.

The bill was opposed by SNP MSP John Mason, who has long been an advocate for the rights of the unborn.

Some other MSPs also raised concerns that 'silent prayer' is intended to be in scope of the legislation.

Mr Mason told parliamentary colleagues that pro-life vigils are made up of people who are "quietly reading or praying", who "offer support and information to women who are considering abortion." And disputed claims that "harassment" is occurring.

He added: "We know that, in some cases, women have not been fully informed about the options that are available to them, have not completely made up their minds, or might be being pressured by a partner or family member not to have the baby.

"I gather that, in recent weeks, some women have approached the vigil group, sought more information and decided to have their babies. That seems like good news to me."

"The mother’s healthcare is supremely important, but the baby is important, too, and someone needs to speak up for those babies, whether it is in Parliament or out in the streets."

Speaking ahead of the vote yesterday evening, a spokeswoman for CARE for Scotland said:

“Public debates and interactions related to abortion must be conducted with an abundance of empathy and sensitivity, recognising that both lives in a pregnancy have immense value. The committee process has shown that pro-life people in Scotland conduct themselves with this in mind. MSPs have heard concerns about the evidence for and scope of Ms Mackay's bill.

“The police are already empowered to deal with any incidents of abuse or harassment that occur under existing, well-balanced laws. Police data shows pro-life activities do not involve the 'harassment' some campaigners claim to be taking place. Some have wrongly sought to other and problematise peaceful pro-life people who offer support to women.

“We regret that this legislation has seen political attention diverted away from other serious issues relating to abortion: discrimination against preborn babies with disabilities; the law being out-of-step with improvements in foetal viability; record numbers of abortions; and abortions driven by inequality including poverty. We would urge MSPs to consider the wider picture.”

Receive news from CARE each week

By signing up stay in touch you agree to receive emails from CARE. You can change your mailing preferences at any time either by getting in touch with CARE, or through the links on any of our emails.

Recent news in Abortion



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.

Find out more about the cause