Help us end abortion clinic harassment across Scotland

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Patients seeking abortion services across Scotland face intimidation and harassment. We formed the Back Off Scotland (BOS) campaign to petition the Scottish Government to introduce 150m buffer zones around clinics that provide abortion services in Scotland.

The right to privacy and right to access legal, essential medical services should be protected, not threatened by anti-choice activity. New legislation is needed urgently to  keep people safe from protestors, especially as access to sexual and reproductive medical services becomes more uncertain due to the pandemic. 

Laws already in place are not enough. The police do not have the powers to prevent this harassment. With the creation of 150m buffer zones (safe areas where any kind of harassment or protesting is forbidden) people will be safer when seeking medical care. This is not about preventing freedom of speech or silencing either side of a debate. It's about ensuring people’s right to seek medical care, free from intimidation. It's about keeping medical matters of an individual between them and their medical professional.

Types of intimidation include flyering medically inaccurate leaflets, blocking entry to clinics, graphic imagery being shown, praying and chanting to instil fear in individuals when accessing a range of reproductive and sexual health services, such as abortion. 

Even those not accessing abortion care are targeted - one woman with a pram was told “she hadn’t killed her baby so why would she support abortion,” and another being told she would “die of cancer” for having an abortion in the past.

We know buffer zones work. In Ealing, England, buffer zones have already been successfully implemented.  With the ‘safe zone policy’, “clinic users and staff have finally been protected from the daily [...] intimidation and harassment that had occurred [...] for more than 23 years”.   

Additionally, a recent survey shows that 82% of Scots strongly support governmental action to stop protests, and a prior Edinburgh-based BOS petition amassed almost 5,000 signatures in support of this. Glasgow’s council has directed us towards the Scottish Parliament for the creation of this important piece of legislation. We need your support to push the Scottish Government to enact new legislation to protect the rights of people accessing vital healthcare. Help us make history - sign and share this petition now!