CAMPAIGNERS are calling on the SNP to put in place 150m buffer zones around abortion clinics following a 40-day protest against termination outside the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow

Dozens of members of a pro-life group called 40 Days for Life have been gathering along Hardgate Road outside the maternity unit every day for well over a month. 

Their actions have sparked fury among pro-choice activists, and campaign group Back Off Scotland has even called on women's health minister Maree Todd to resign over a lack of movement on the issue.

The organisation is wanting 150m buffer zones to be brought in around clinics so women do not have to face harassment when going for an abortion.

Co-founder Lucy Grieve, 25, said introducing this legislation was vital to ensure women already facing a difficult decision do not face further intimidation.

She told The National: "We are not anti-freedom of speech or anti-protest and this is not about the morality of abortion, but what we are concerned about and what we are campaigning for is the right to access healthcare without any barriers in place.

"Whether it's people protesting against or for abortion, we want to move that conversation away from the doors of the clinics.

The National: Lucy Grieve, co-founder of Back Off ScotlandLucy Grieve, co-founder of Back Off Scotland

"If people want to change legislation, they can go and lobby politicians to do that, but having protests outside a clinic is so intimidating for women.

"Their right to healthcare and privacy is being complicated. Where they [the protestors] stand on Hardgate Road is also right outside the maternity unit so we've heard stories of people having babies and then hearing chanting outside.

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"Women have been left feeling degraded and upset by the presence of these protestors and we want legislation for buffer zones to be brought in as soon as possible because this is affecting more and more women every day."


Green MSP Gillian Mackay has already signalled her intention to bring a member's bill to the Scottish Parliament to bring the law into place, but Grieve said an opposition member having to act shows the Scottish Government is not doing enough.

She added: "It should not take an opposition member's bill to get something done about this.

"It should be top of the list in terms of what a women's health minister should want to tackle."

More than 100 protesters were pictured outside the QEUH on Sunday sparking outrage across social media. 

Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who raised the Back Off Scotland campaign at Holyrood last year, tweeted: "100+ protesters at the QEUH, deliberately making access to abortion and reproductive healthcare difficult. It’s why 150m buffer zones are needed.

"Legislate, First Minister. Stop doing nothing."

Todd said: “The Scottish Government believes all women in Scotland should be able to access timely abortion care without judgment, within the limits of the law, should they require it. I condemn, in the strongest possible terms, any attempts to intimidate women as they choose to access abortion services.

“I have convened a working group with partners such as COSLA, Police Scotland and affected Councils and Health Boards to seek to find an appropriate way forward as soon as possible in relation to protests or vigils outside abortion clinics.

  “The working group is continuing to explore ways to ensure that women can access abortion services without feeling harassed or intimidated.

“We are looking forward to Gillian Mackay MSP bringing forward her member’s bill on buffer zones and I have publicly committed to work constructively with her in this regard.”