DELEGATES at this year’s SNP conference may be asked to back the introduction of “safe zones” around Scottish hospitals and health clinics where women are having abortions.

A resolution has been submitted for consideration and appears on the party’s draft agenda for the three day event in Glasgow.

Scottish councils do not have the legal power to create buffer areas around the facilities, and the motion calls for legislation to be reviewed to allow local authorities to do so.

The resolution, one of 32 on the event’s provisional agenda, follows a surge in pro-life vigils at hospitals around Scotland and suggests these demonstrations intimidate both patients and staff. Aileen Campbell, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, last month raised concerns about such events.

The resolution, submitted by the SNP’s Greater Pollok and Cardonald branch, asks conference to note “with concern the recent escalation in demonstrations at NHS facilities targeting women and staff attending sexual and reproductive health services and NHS hospitals”.

It goes on to say conference “believes in upholding the right to peaceful protest whilst believing that everyone in Scotland should be able to access lawful health services and attend their place of work without fear of intimidation or abuse”.

It adds: “Conference calls for a review of legislation to allow the introduction of ‘Safe Zones’ around health services and hospitals to protect NHS staff and ensure patients have unimpeded access to health care”.

Forty Days For Life, a lobby group founded in Texas in 2004, has held vigils at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen Maternity Hospital and Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

The movement has been emboldened by President Donald Trump, who has pledged to put pro-life justices on the US Supreme Court to overturn the decision to legalise abortion in 1973.

Glasgow City Council backed a motion for “buffer-zones” in June put down by SNP Councillor Elaine McSporran following anti-abortion prayer vigils outside the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

During a debate councillors claimed women, visitors and NHS workers felt traumatised by the candle-lit displays. At a full council meeting, McSporran said: “Everyone has the right to confidential healthcare and to attend their workplace without fear, distress and intimidation.”

But the policy idea backed by Glasgow City Council was condemned by the Catholic Church and pro-life organisations. They claimed it was an attack on freedom of expression and people’s views on abortion.

Councils in England already have the legal power to create “buffer zones” around abortion clinics and hospitals to stop patients and staff being intimidated by protesters.

Earlier this year LibDem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said he was disappointed the Scottish Government was not actively exploring introducing safe zones to protect women from harassment.

Commenting on the draft resolution, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church said: “Upholding the right to peaceful protest would best be achieved by deleting this resolution from the conference agenda. The right to peacefully protest is the foundation of any democracy and should not be infringed.”

SNP members have until August 31 to submit amendments to the resolutions before they are selected for the final programme, due to be published in mid September.

The conference is being held from Sunday October 7 to Tuesday October 9 at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow. Among the resolutions on the draft agenda are ones on overhauling sexual consent education in schools, the creation of medically supervised injection facilities for drugs users and calls for the devolution of migration powers.