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  • Writer's pictureDeena Tissera

Aberdeen City Council votes for 'buffer zones' at abortion clinics to prevent protests

Campaigners have been asking for legislation to be implemented across Scotland to protects women's access to abortion services.

Anti-abortion protesters outside a hospital in Glasgow (Image: Back Off Scotland)

'Buffer zones' around abortion clinics could soon be implemented in Aberdeen after the city council voted through a bye-law that would make women's health care services protest free.

Aberdeen City Council will now begin talks with the Scottish and local governments to establish the buffer zones following the emergency motion which was tabled by Labour Councillor Deena Tissera.

Pro-choice protestors gathered outside Aberdeen's townhouse this morning ahead of the debate. In recent months there have been a number of pro-life protests outside of hospitals across Scotland.

Protestors gathered outside the Townhouse (Image: Aberdeen Live)

" Nobody should be intimidated and harassed while attempting to access healthcare. This continues Aberdeen’s proud history in this area, from being the first city in Scotland to establish a birth control clinic - the council’s ambition is to become the first Scottish city to establish a buffer zone around our clinics."

Campaign group Back Off Scotland has repeatedly spoken out about protests outside clinics and have called for buffer zones to prevent women being harassed as they access healthcare.

Aberdeen Maternity Hospital was targeted this year by demonstrators, with NHS Grampian describing the action as "peaceful." The hospital has been described by Back Off Scotland as "one of the most targeted" in Scotland.

A spokesperson for Back Off Scotland said: “It’s great news that Aberdeen City Council have passed this motion today and we’re grateful to Cllr. Deena Tissera and colleagues for their work in bringing the buffer zone issue directly to city council.

Two men targeted Glasgow’s Sandyford Clinic(Image: Back Off Scotland)

"Aberdeen Maternity Hospital is one of the most targeted sites in Scotland, with protests occurring as far back as the 1990s, so it is imperative that the council move at pace to enact buffer zones.

"The goal of buffer zone legislation has always been to protect those accessing healthcare from intimidation and harassment, and in light of the recent uptick in anti-choice activities outside clinics and hospitals across Scotland it’s clear that local councils need to use the powers they have available to them in the interim whilst primary legislation makes its way through the Scottish Parliament.

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