STAFF at health facilities which provide abortion care have the right to do their job without “fear or intimidation”, says the women’s health minister. 

Maree Todd visited the Sandyford Clinic in Glasgow on Thursday following an increase in the number of anti-abortion protests which have taken place outside healthcare facilities across Scotland

The minister has urged protesters to instead demonstrate outside Parliament because that is where legislation is passed. 

Todd said: “I spoke to staff who have had to work in the shadow of two recent protests and heard from them and also staff at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital about the damaging impact it can have.”

On Wednesday, campaign group Back Off Scotland shared videos of further protests outside the Sandyford Clinic. 

They said that staff inside were forced to blast music in order to “drown out” protestors as patients inside grew distressed. 

READ MORE: Battle for buffer zones outside Scottish clinics has historical echoes

Consultant Greg Irwin said: “You are accessing your healthcare to which you have a legal right. You are forced to run the gauntlet of these demonstrations
“This is outrageous. All we ask for is these demonstrations to be moved up the street.”

Irwin has called for the introduction of buffer zones outside all hospitals in Scotland with urgency.

Green MSP Gillian Mackay last week launched a consultation on a bill she is introducing to establish a 150-metre buffer zone outside of clinics and medical facilities that provide abortions. 

Todd added: “We strongly support the introduction of our buffer zones, welcome Gillian Mackay MSP’s bill consultation and will continue to explore how the Scottish Parliament can legislate in a way that is effective and capable of withstanding a legal challenge.”

Nicola Sturgeon is set to chair an emergency summit on buffer zones next month.