Member of Scottish Parliament Launched Bill for Censorship Zones Around Abortion Clinics

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: May 20, 2022

Gillian Mackay, an MSP for the Green Party, "initiated a public consultation on the Bill" that would allow a 2-year sentence to be assigned to someone who "attempts to influence or persuade someone seeking an abortion inside censorship zones," reported "RighttoLife" News. Some claim, there has been a rise in incidents outside abortion clinics involving pro-life activists, but Robert Colquhoun, the campaign director for "40 Days for Life", disagreed saying that it was actually just increased media attention that made it seem so. The introduction of such zones would negatively impact Christians who often attend such vigils due to their biblically based pro-life belief.

Hannah McNicol, spokesperson for Compassion Scotland, an organization that opposes censorship zones, said that it would be an “egregious breach of fundamental human rights” to create these zones. She continued: "Women seek abortions for many reasons and can often be under immense pressure to do so – whether that be financial and employment pressures or coercion from a partner or family member. The peaceful presence of volunteers signposting practical support and counsel has been a lifeline in the past to women who feel they have no choice but an abortion.”

Compassion Scotland also conducted research to find if there was any so-called harassment or intimidation outside abortion clinics in Scotland. They released statistics from Police Scotland, which showed that in the 13 locations that provide abortion services, there was no evidence of such activities between 2016 and 2021.

Right to Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “As Compassion Scotland rightly says, harassment is wrong and there already exist laws to prevent and punish such behaviour. Where harassment exists, such laws should be enforced. However, as their FOIs have shown, there are no recorded incidents of harassment over a six-year period at thirteen different locations performing abortions in Scotland”.

“It would seem that the campaign to introduce censorship zones is not based on evidence but rather ideology that seeks to deny women any alternative to abortion."


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