In recent years, we have seen a rising number of protests outside of abortion clinics. Their scale and frequency has increased with protests in April and May 2022; seeing some of the largest numbers so far.
Let’s be clear, for those who need it, abortion is healthcare and healthcare is a right. No-one should be intimidated or harassed for exercising their bodily autonomy or their right to seek the healthcare they want or need.
Clinicians have told me of the impact this has had on patients. Not just those accessing abortions but other services such as rape counselling and sexual health services. Some of these services share campuses with other services that are impacted by noise and the presence of protesters. This should not be the case and legislation now needs to be brought forward.
I want to ensure that everyone accessing these services can do so free from the presence of protesters. Free from the fear that someone will be judging you for your choices or worse attempt to approach you to influence your decision.
This is not about the moral right or wrong of abortion, it is about the right to access healthcare free from intimidation and harassment.
In the US, Roe v Wade shows how important it is to continue as a progressive country to continue to move forward.
Gillian Mackay MSP
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Central Scotland Region