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Overwhelming majority in Scotland in favour of fining pro-life groups for coming within 200m of hospitals

Scotland follows in England’s footsteps by creating ‘buffer zones’. Pro-life groups expect silent prayers outside health centres to be banned.

AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus EDINBURGH 14 DE JUNIO DE 2024 12:03 h
A view of Holyrood, the Scottish parliament in Edinburg. / Photo: [link]Ben Marler[/link], Unsplash, CC0.

The Scottish parliament passed the "Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones)" draft law to introduce buffer zones and prevent any protests or vigils taking place around abortion clinics, by 118 votes to one.



The Bill states that anyone who takes part in a pro-life activity within 200m of a Scottish hospital or abortion facility, would face fines of up to £10,000.



MSP Gillian Mackay, the Green Party parliamentarian who tabled the Bill, was satisfied with the support of the parties: “Today's vote means never again should a woman have to be stripped of her dignity, privacy or emotion in opting to have an abortion. It enshrines her right to do so, and to do so without fear or intimidation”, he said.



The draft law will now progress to stage two, where parliamentary committees will suggest and discuss amendments. In stage three the whole chamber will vote on the legislation.





Silent prayers to be excluded?



Those in Scotland who oppose the draft law say the legislation could infringe on freedom of religion and wanted exclusions for silent prayer.



“The police are already empowered to deal with any incidents of abuse or harassment that occur under existing, well-balanced laws”, pointed out a spokeswoman for Care for Scotland. She stressed that “police data shows that pro-life activities do not involve the harassment some campaigners claim is taking place”.



For Michael Robinson, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), the draft law is “deeply flawed” and it “seeks to police areas of our private lives, which the state has no right to interfere with, namely private thought and prayer”.



“MSPs have trampled on at least four European Convention of Human Rights and have introduced thought crime into Scottish society [...]This is indeed a dark day in Scotland's history”, he added.



[analysis]



[title]One more year[/title]

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[/text][/analysis]


 

 


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